Can your employer set rules to if you get a cost of living raise?

I have worked the last 4 years for the same place and each year they have gave a cost of living raise. However, they set a rule that if you have too many attendance points you do not get the raise. Do they have the right to say if you get the raise or not?

Asked on January 3, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A cost of living raise is not legally mandated. In other words, if given it is provided at the discretion of an employer. Accordingly, it can determine whether or not it is paid out. That is unless the terms of a union agreement or employment contract provide otherwise.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they have the right to say whether you get the raise or not--there is no law guarantying you a cost of living raise, annual raise, or any other sort of raise; it is 100% voluntary on the part of the employer to give you a raise, and it being voluntary, they can put any requirements, rules, conditions, etc. on whether you get it. Remember: you don't ever have to get a raise: it would be legal for you to work 50 or 60 years without a raise. The employer chooses whether to give you a raise.

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