What are my rights if my pay period is being changed at work which will leave me short of money for this month?

I have a question on an issue I’m having at my work right now. I started at my company a few months ago, as a salary employee but now they want to switch me to hourly. The company has a policy to pay 1 week behind for hourly employees. Salary people get paid in full every 2 weeks as where hourly are being paid every week but they are 1 week behind in pay. Now that they are switching me to hourly, so they want to hold my check for a week. This is causing me to not have the full pay for the month because I won’t get a pay check for 1 week. Is this legal for them to do? I’ve tried talking to the payroll dep but they won’t help me. What can I do if this is not legal? I have no contract.

Asked on September 17, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The pay cycles or schedules you describe are legal, so you do not have any recourse to force your employer to pay differently. This is something that you have to simply budget for and work through; it is a temporary glitch or shortfall in earnings for one month. There is no legal protection against this--for example, your employer could (if you don't have a contract) simply suspend or furlough you for a week at will, or even terminate you at will--so you need to be able to weather a temporary shortfall in funds. Otherwise, you are always at the mercy of your at-will employer.

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