Is the way my employer is paying my wages legal?

UPDATED: Feb 12, 2012

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Is the way my employer is paying my wages legal?

I currently work for a cleaning company and I’m supposed to be paid minimum wage, hourly. On a regular basis I work for a certain amount of time and when I get my check, they record paying me for several hours less than what I work. My manager says that it’s because my employer bids jobs at a certain price, assuming that they should take so many hours and if I go over the time he assumed it would take, then I only get paid for the amount of time he bid. It strikes me that if I’m at work for 10 hours, without a break but I get paid for 8, then there might be something wrong.

Asked on February 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal to shave hours from an employee's compensation. Hourly employees must be paid for all hours worked, without exception. If the employer is bidding too low and cannot make a profit, that is the employer's problem, not the employee's--the employee still must be paid be for all hours worked.

Furtheremore, if the employee works more than 40 hours in a week, she must be paid overtime for all hours over 40, too.

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