Putting Employment Issues Behind You

Can your boss really reduce your pay?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Wage And Hour Violations

When you took your job, you were happy about the pay rate, which was higher than you ever received before. That was two years ago, however, and things are changing. Recently, your boss told you that they may have to reduce your pay.

To you, this feels unfair and even illegal. Maybe you had other job offers on the table, but you only took this one because of the high pay rate. Is it really possible that your boss can now reduce your rate without your permission?

You must be given notice 

If you have an employment contract, you have to be paid in accordance with that contract. Your boss also has to follow the stipulations in the contract when reducing your pay rate. It may or may not be allowed on an individual basis, or the contract may determine how much pay can be reduced, when notice is required and the like.

If you’re an at-will employee, as most people are, then your boss can reduce your pay rate at any time. The main stipulation is that they have to give you notice in advance. They can’t change your pay rate retroactively. All the hours that you’ve already worked must be paid at the previous rate, but your boss can change what you will be paid for future hours.

It’s also worth noting that the reason for the change may matter. For instance, your boss can’t lower your pay rate as a form of retaliation after a sexual harassment complaint. Doing so would be illegal. Employees must be well aware of their rights and their legal options if those rights are violated.