Some Massachusetts workers may be pleased to hear about a new federal regulation requiring that more workers receive overtime pay if they work over 40 hours a week. The National Labor Relations Act defines exempt workers, those not covered by the law's wage and hour provisions, as those who make at least a certain salary and also have a high level of independent judgment or management responsibilities in their roles. Originally intended to classify professional workers and management staff, the exempt classification has been used by many companies to avoid overtime pay for relatively low-wage workers who are often highly directed by others.
A proposed amendment to the Massachusetts House budget would allocate $500,000 to establish a special unit tasked with ensuring that construction companies in the state abide by wage and hours laws. The unit would be staffed with investigators who would look into alleged or suspected wage violations in the construction industry. The amendment is supported by several building trade labor unions. Observers expect it to be approved.