Can my employer legally decrease my hours if I am a full-time employee?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my employer legally decrease my hours if I am a full-time employee?

I am listed as a full-time employee. In my work profile, it even says, 40 hours. They have only been allowing us 36 hours a week, and there is talk about further decreasing our hours. I have seniority, and there is new nurse who was just hired for full-time hours also. They are talking about cutting everyone’s hours. Can they do this and, if so, how many hours can they legally take us down to?

Asked on September 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have a written employment contract or union agreement that gurantees you 40 hours of work per week, you are an "at will" worker. This means that your employer can set the conditions of work, including your schedule, much as it sees fit (absent some form of egally actionable discrimination). 

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