Is it legal if the effective date of my pay increase is delayed until the end of my maternity leave?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal if the effective date of my pay increase is delayed until the end of my maternity leave?

I received a pay increase while I was on maternity leave. In Workday it showed an effective date. However, the payment I received never changed after that date. I asked the vendor that worked with my employer to issue payment and was told their contract with my employer stated any pay increase would be delayed until the end of maternity leave. The payment I received was based on my salary before I went on leave and would never change. I am not really too concerned about the amount of money I might have missed, however I am more concerned about whether there is any discrimination or violation in this process. It just feels weird to me that the written effective pay increase date is not honored simply because I am on maternity leave. My employer is based in Bay Area California with 10000 employees.

Asked on June 25, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF you had an actual written contract which guaranteed you the raise as of a certain date, they'd have to honor the agreement and give you the raise then.
Without an actual written contract, there is no right to a raise--employers never need to give you a raise and if they choose to give a raise, have full discretion to decide when to do so; they can go back on or renege on the timing they asserted earlier. Because there is no right to a raise and it is discretionary, it is legal to elect to delay it until after your leave.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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