Is my company required to pay me an overnight differential?

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Is my company required to pay me an overnight differential?

I am employed by a security company and don’t get a differential for working a 3rd shift.

Asked on April 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Does company policy guarantee this? Do you have an employment or union agreement covering this situation? Do you think that some form of actionable discrimination is a factor here?  If no to all of the above, then I'm afraid that you don't have to many rights in this case.  The fact is that shift differential pay is not required by law; it is a discretionary benefit.  In other words, it is something that an employer can voluntarily choose to pay - or not.  Since it's not required under law, the employer has substantial discretion to set terms and conditions for it.  However, if you are a non-exempt employee, you are still entitle to be receive overtime pay for any hours that you work over 40. 

Note:  If your employer previously has paid employees a shift differential, then you may have a case that the employer's behavior has established an implied contract to do so; a  contract that you may be able to enforce. However, without a past practice or precedent of doing so, you probably don't have any grounds.


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