Can my employer decrease my pay rate without notice?

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Can my employer decrease my pay rate without notice?

I’m a server and my employer accidentally plugged in $7.25 per hour instead of the usual $2.13 per hour that servers usually get paid. They discovered their error when a banking issue caused everyone’s paycheck to bounce and decreased it with no warning to me.

Asked on February 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, from what you describe, the employer did not "decrease" your rate of pay--it corrected an error, since it appears you were accidentally paid at a higher rate than you should have been. So this is not a pay decrease or cut, but simply a correction of a mistake, and no notice is required for that.

Second, even if it were an actual pay cut (i.e. they were reducing your hourly rate), no notice to you would be required unless you had an employment contract requiring notice or guarantying your rate. Note that in the case of an actual pay cut (or demotion, etc.), it can only take prospective effect--that is, any work you did at your then-in-force rate must be paid at that rate, though future work can be at a new, lower rate.


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