Massachusetts state government salary

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State Information

This page describes the compensation, salaries and benefits that Massachusetts public employees receive from state and local government.

Legislator salaries

See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2010, Massachusetts state legislators earned $61,133 per year.[1] As of 2012, legislators also received a per diem that ranged between $10 to $100 per day, depending on the legislator's distance from State House.[2]

State executive salaries

See also: Compensation of state executive officers
State executive salaries[3]
Office '10 salary Current official
Governor $140,535 Deval Patrick
Lieutenant Governor $124,920 Timothy Murray
Secretary of State $130,916 William Galvin
Attorney General $133,644 Martha Coakley
Treasurer $130,916 Steven Grossman

As of 2008, the salary of Massachusetts' governor ranked 16th among U.S. governors' salaries. The average salary earned by U.S. governors was $128,735. The median salary earned by U.S. governors was $129,962.[4]

Judicial salaries

See also: State court budgets and judicial salaries
Massachusetts judicial salaries[5]
Position '09 salary Current justice
Associate Justice $151,239 Barbara Lenk
Associate Justice $145,984 Ralph Gants
Chief Justice $145,984 Roderick Ireland
Associate Justice $145,984 Francis Spina
Associate Justice $145,984 Fernande Duffly
Associate Justice $145,984 Robert Cordy
Associate Justice $145,984 Margot Botsford

As of 2010, the salary of Massachusetts' chief justice ranked 26th among U.S. chief justices' salaries. The average salary earned by U.S. chief justices was $155,230. The median salary earned by U.S. chief justices was $151,284.[5]

As of 2010, the salaries of Massachusetts' associate justices ranked 26th among U.S. associate justices' salaries.The average salary earned by U.S. associate justices was $151,142. The median salary earned by U.S. associate justices was $145,984.[5]

State and local employees

According to 2008 U.S. Census data, the state of Massachusetts and local governments in the state employed a total of 403,808 people.[6] Of those employees, 305,924 were full-time employees receiving net pay of $1,408,423,479 per month and 97,884 were part-time employees paid $121,702,932 per month.[6] More than 54% of those employees, or 221,115 employees, were in education or higher education.[6]

As of 2010, Massport chief Thomas Kinton was one of the highest paid public employees in the state. Kinton earned $312,000 in 2010. At retirement, he was expected to collect $459,616.01 from the state's sick day buy-back program, as well as a pension of about $200,000 per year.[7]

Teacher salaries

The Massachusetts Teachers Association bargains with local school districts over teacher salaries.

Massachusetts's education costs are 21% of the state budget
Teacher salaries[8]
Beginning Teacher salary Average salary
$38,570 $66,712

In fiscal year 2009, the state of Massachusetts spent a total of $4.61 billion on teacher salaries. According to state reports, the state had an estimated 68,290 teachers at an average yearly salary of $67,577. Compared to 2008 at an estimated average salary of $64,166, 2009 saw an increase of $3,411. However, the state decreased the number of teachers from 69,331 to 68,290, a loss of about 1,041 teachers. The chart below highlights the average teacher salaries for the state, the total number of teachers and total salary costs to the state for fiscal years 2004 through 2009.[9]

Fiscal year Total salaries Total teachers Average salaries
FY 2004 $3,960,071,176 73,699.7 $53,733
FY 2005 $4,034,582,103 73,756.6 $54,701
FY 2006 $4,171,116,385 74,001.1 $56,366
FY 2007 $4,298,145,779 73,779.0 $58,257
FY 2008 $4,448,732,392 69,331.4 $64,166
FY 2009 $4,614,826,373 68,289.5 $67,577

Unions and collective bargaining

Personnel costs, including salaries and benefits, account for 75% of local Massachusetts budgets. The House passed a bill on April 26, 2011, divesting policemen, firefighters, teachers and other municipal employees of their ability to collectively bargain for most health-care benefits. It was expected to save cities and towns an estimated $100 million in FY2012 alone. Democrats, including the Speaker of the House, spearheaded passage of the bill. As of April 29, 2011, the governor had not said whether he would sign the bill.[10]


The State of Massachusetts offers its employees many benefits.



To be eligible for health insurance, employees must work at least 18.75 hours in a 37.5-hour work week or 20 hours in a 40-hour work week. Employees have several different insurance plans from which to choose, including four HMO plans, two PPO plans and a basic plan.[11] Prescription drug benefits are included in each plan.[11]

Dental and vision

The Dental/Vision Program is for state employees who are not covered by collective bargaining or do not have another dental and/or vision plan through the state.[12] The plan primarily covers managers, legislators, legislative staff, and certain executive office staff.[12] Individual coverage costs employees up to $5 per month, and family coverage costs up to $17.68 per month.[13]

Long-term disability

All active full-time and half-time state employees who work at least 18.75 hours in a 37.5-hour work week or 20 hours in a 40-hour work week are eligible for LTD benefits. New employees may enroll in LTD without providing evidence of good health within 31 days of hire.[14] Employees who do not smoke pay as little as $0.05 per month for this benefit, and, depending on the employee's age, pay at most $1.30 per month.[13]

Life insurance

The Commonwealth offers $5,000 of basic life Insurance to all active state employees.[15] For basic life insurance, the employee pays $1.71 per month.[16] Supplemental life insurance is also available to employees.[15]


See also: Massachusetts public pensions

Regular state employees working half-time or more are required to enroll as a member of the State Employees Retirement System, administered by the State Board of Retirement.[17] The date of the employee's hiring and rate of pay determine the percentage rate of bi-weekly retirement deduction, which ranges from 5% to 9% for employees not in the State Police. The Commonwealth does not contribute a specific percentage per employee towards this program; however, the Commonwealth contributes an overall amount annually to the fund needed to cover any unfunded liability.[17]

The deferred compensation plan available to employees is called the Smart Plan. It is a 457 deferred compensation plan that allows employees to make pre-tax contributions. All earnings are tax-deferred. The amounts accumulated on the employee's behalf are distributed at retirement, or due to another qualifying event, such as separation from service or death.[17]

Other benefits

Healthcare spending account

Active employees can pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses on a pre-tax basis, reducing participants' federal and state income taxes.[18]

Dependent care spending account

The Dependent Care Assistance Program allows state employees to pay for certain dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.[19]

Employee Assistance Program

Employees can receive help dealing with workplace issues, such as stress management, disruptive workplace behavior and substance abuse, as well as access counseling through the Employee Assistance Program.[20]


Commonwealth employees receive 11 paid holidays per year.[21]

  • New Year's Day
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Washington's Birthday
  • Patriot's Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veteran's Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day


Employees earn vacation based on their time of employment.[17]

Number of hours of vacation earned per month[17]

Years of service Working 37.5 hrs per week working 40 hrs per week
Less than 4 ½ years 6.25 6.667
4 ½ yrs but less than 9 ½ yrs 9.375 10.0
9 ½ yrs but less than 19 ½ yrs 12.5 13.333
19 ½ yrs or more 15.625 16.667

Sick leave

After one full calendar month of employment, employees accrue 1.25 sick days for each full month of service, to a total of 15 days per year, which may accumulate indefinitely. Thirty days per year may be used as Family Sick Leave. Part-time employees earn time on a pro-rata basis. Twenty percent (20%) of sick time is paid out upon retirement.[17]

Personal leave Three personal days are awarded the first day of each year for use during the calendar year, and are awarded on a pro-rata basis to part-time employees.[17] Any unused personal time at the end of the year is forfeited.[17]

Additional reading

External links