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Can your boss reduce your pay rate?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Wage & Hour Laws

Naturally, one of the first things that people ask when they take a job is how much it’s going to pay. They are exchanging their time for money and they want to ensure that they’ll be getting enough money to make it worth doing. Employees have budgets and are trying to find positions that can support their lifestyles.

This is why it can be very jarring if your employer tells you that they are going to be cutting your pay rate. Maybe you only took the job because it paid $50 an hour, but now they’ve told you that they’re going to reduce it to $30 an hour. This feels very unfair, as if you’ve been tricked into taking the position, so can your employer do it?

You need to be notified in advance

Typically, the answer is yes: Employers can decide to reduce wages if they would like. But you shouldn’t just get your next paycheck and find that you’ve earned much less money. You do need to be notified in advance about the reduction. This way, if you do not want to continue working for the lower wage, you can leave your position.

It can’t be for an illegal reason 

Additionally, the reduction in wages can’t be for a reason that is illegal. For instance, maybe the business is just making less money than expected, so the boss is trying to reduce wages to keep it afloat. That would be legal. But if your wages are being cut as retaliation – for reporting sexual harassment or for whistleblowing, for example – then that would be illegal.

Do you believe that your employer may have violated your rights? If so, take the time to look into your legal options.