Is it legal if my employer is using per diem as part of my earned wages?

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Is it legal if my employer is using per diem as part of my earned wages?

For example, my last check was supposed to be for $1700, so they paid me $1100 classified as regular pay and then $600 per diem. I feel like I’m being cheated.

Asked on January 12, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Your employer may change what you are paid at will (if there is no contract setting your pay; and as long as they pay at least minimum wage) but can only do so prospectively--from when they tell you they are making the change forward--and not retroactively.
So, your regular paycheck is $1,700. They can tell you, "starting next pay period, we're paying you $1,100 and a $600 pay diem"--that is legal; they can make that change.
What they can't legally do is after you did, say, two weeks of work in the reasonable expectation that you would be paid $1,700 in wages, get only $1,100 in wages plus  per diem. The change must be announced before you do the work.


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