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Is it legal for your boss to reduce your pay?

When you took your job, the main thing you were concerned about was the pay rate. You knew what your budget looked like, and you knew how much you needed to earn for that budget to work. The job that you accepted, leaving other offers behind, paid you enough to satisfy your budget.

However, your boss has now been saying that they need to reduce your pay. Maybe they want to cut your hourly rate down from $40 an hour to $30 an hour, for example. Because the pay rate was a big reason why you took the job in the first place, this is frustrating. But is it also illegal? Or does your boss have the right to reduce your pay?

It can only apply to future hours

Your boss can cut your pay, in most cases, unless you have a contract saying otherwise. But if you’re just an at-will employee who agreed to take $40 an hour, your boss can change that pay rate anytime that they would like.

The most important factor to keep in mind is that the change only applies to future hours that you will work. Your boss cannot change the pay rate for hours you’ve already completed. They still owe you for hours you’ve put in, and you deserve your original rate – being paid less could be an example of wage theft.

If your boss is changing your pay in the future, they still have to give you notice of the change so that you can decide if you want to keep the job or not. Employment situations can get complicated, especially when there are disagreements between employees and employers. Those involved need to know about their legal options.