Can a agency dock wages due to late timecards?

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Can a agency dock wages due to late timecards?

I work for a health care agency and fax time cards every week. Over holidays I was late, on Mondays that were observed holiday. My agency cut my pay rate, as well as paid me the following week. Is this legal?

Asked on January 13, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They cannot reduce your rate for work already done for sending in the time cards late: you did that work pursuant or according to an agreement, even if only an oral (unwritten) one that you'd be paid a certain rate for the work; since you honored your obligations (did the work), they are contractually obligated to honor their obligations and pay you at the agreed-upon rate. If they don't, you could potentially file a wage and hour complaint with the state department of labor or sue in small claims court for the money.
But going forward--i.e. for work not yet done--they can freely reduce your rate for any reason including a late card, unless you have a written (and for this purpose, only a written) employment contract for a defined or set duration or period which guarantees your rate for that time. Without such a contract, your employer can change or reduce what you will be paid for work not yet done at any time, for any reason.


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