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Can I be forced to wait for customer to pay?

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  • Can I be forced to wait for customer to pay?

    Can an employee refuse to pay an employee their commission until the customer pays their bill? I am a plumber and often the customer is a "billed" customer. I am always paid my commission when I submit the invoice to the office. Recently the office has decided to not pay me my commission on certain jobs until the customer pays the office. This is an inconsistent thing -98% of the time I am paid when I submit the invoice and the other 2% they 'hold' my commission.

    Can they really do this? I am a W2 employee paid 100% commission. Doesn't the employee have an obligation to pay me for all work performed regardless of their receipt of payment from customer? Further, when I go and write estimates (which are free) I am not paid for that time. I am often sent for free estimates or asked to sit and wait for work at remote locations. Again, I'm not paid unless I actually do work.

  • #2
    You legally have two different unrelated issues.
    - The chances that a plumber who does blue collar type work in the field can legally be paid on a 100% commission unrelated to hours worked is basically non-existent. The only type of employee who can legally be paid on a 100% commission basis unrelated to hours worked is someone who qualifies for the Outside Sales exception. You do not. It is extremely likely that legally you are Non-Exempt employee subject to minimum wage and overtime laws. This is not saying that you cannot be paid largely on a commission basis, just that for each workweek your pay cannot be less then MW/OT.
    - Ignoring the MW/OT requirements for the moment however, it is both common and legal to make commission payments to employees a function of net payments actually received from the customer. Being inconsistent about this is dumb on the employer's standpoint. They are taking something in which the law is normally on their side, and by being inconsistent possibly putting the issue legally in play.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)