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PA labor laws for hourly/salary employees Pennsylvania

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  • PA labor laws for hourly/salary employees Pennsylvania

    I am an hourly worker that has felt the effects of the global economic
    slowdown with my employer cutting 20% of my hours. All of the hourly
    people at my company have had their hours cut back as well, but none of
    the salary people have had to make any sacrifices. When I asked my HR
    representative why the salary people couldn't take a small cut in pay,
    he informed me it was 'illegal' to cut a salary employee's pay. I read
    an article that said cutting a salary employee's pay under contract is
    illegal without their consent; however, that doesn't mean the salary
    employees are not eligible for company cutbacks. The company could
    still go to salary employees and ask them if they would take a pay cut.
    Do you know of any legal labor documents that will point out the mistake
    of my HR representative?

    It seems like the company will do anything to
    retain the executives pay, and make sure its the last thing to go
    overboard from a sinking ship. I'm from a small town and there really
    isn't a whole lot of options as far as looking for a new job. I've
    been a loyal employee at the company for almost 25 years and it makes me
    sick to have the HR rep lie right to my face. I would like to
    become more attune with labor laws to make sure I'm not being taken
    advantage of as an hourly employee.

    Are there any websites where I can find more information regarding labor laws in PA? Any help at all would be appreciated,

    Thank You

  • #2
    If the company has a legally binding contract with these exempt employees then no, they can not just verbally agree to chaange the contract and have that verbal assent be binding. Sure they could try to renegotiate new contracts depending on the wording of those contracts, but they are not required to do so.

    Even if there were no contracts at all, and the company wanted to only reduce the wages of its non-exempt employees, it would be entirely legal to do so. Obviously, your company has chosen to take this approach and there is nothing you can point to in the law to make them change their mind. Quite often it is simply easier to cut non-exempt salaries for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it is more difficult to recruit upper level executives who may very well go elsewhere for a better deal if their salaries are cut, whereas non-exempt employees may be less inclined to either leave or result in costly recruitment fees if they need to be replaced.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


    • #3
      Let's put it this way.

      Assuming that no contract exists that says otherwise, it is not illegal to permanently reduce the salary of exempt employees. However, it is also not illegal to reduce the wages of all non-exempt employees but not reduce it for exempt employees.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


      • #4
        Maybe this is just me, but in my experience compensation contracts for Exempt Salaried employees who are not very senior management are very rare. Outside sales sometimes, although the contract is generally more a function of the commissions then the salary. People can claim that the offer letter rises to the level of an enforcable contract, but this is rarely true legally.

        I am not saying that this is impossible, but I am very skeptical that any company has actual compensation contracts for each and every one of their Exempt Salaried employees.

        Past that Exempt Salaried employee must be paid at least $455/week under federal law, and they are subject to docking restrictions. Most states follow federal rules on this sort of thing pretty much as is. PA is not one of the few exceptions that I can think of with higher salary limits. And not state can make the federal requirements just go away.

        Non-Exempt employees (no matter how they are paid) tend to be subject to minimum wage and overtime requirements.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


        • #5
          I agree it is rare for all exempt employees to be under contract, though there are some noteable industry based exceptions such as education. However, if we are talking executives and not just professionals or middle managers, then it becomes more more prevalent. Even without an actual contract the company may be under the (false) impression that reducing pay from exempt employees violates FLSA. Or it could just be they find this a convenient excuse. Either way it is legal and there is no way to force the company to behave otherwise.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


          The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.