Can an employer reduce pay without notice?

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Can an employer reduce pay without notice?

My boyfriend was hired by a temp agency to work a day shift in a specified position for $12 an hour. His start date got pushed back twice and when he was finally given a start date they told him it was going to be a swing shift instead. Then without asking, they informed him he was going to a different position. When he picked up his first paycheck, the salary was listed as $11 an hour. He was never informed of the reduction, and when he asked, he was told that is what that shift is paid. Can they do that without telling him first?

Asked on November 25, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

An employer, including a temp agency can reduce pay *going forward* without prior notice--that is, from the moment they announce the pay cut, it is effective. But they may not do so retroactively, so if your boyfriend performed work for which he had been told the pay was $12 per hour, he must be paid $12 per hour for that work, even if they change the pay for the very next shift afterwards. Whatever was the pay in effect when the work was done is the rate that must be paid.

As a practical matter, there may be nothing to do: he would have to sue to get  the extra money, which is likely not cost effective; also, if there is no written indication of the pay, it may be difficult to prove what the pay rate actually was.


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