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Entitled to back pay when hourly rate was unknowingly changed? Pennsylvania

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  • Entitled to back pay when hourly rate was unknowingly changed? Pennsylvania

    Hi. My situation is this: I work for a nursing agency and get paid hourly. My pay often contains rate differential (for night shift and weekends) and overtime. My hourly rate in 2005 was $27 per hour.

    I have not gotten a raise in over 2 years, so I was scheduled for my evaluation/raise request meeting with my supervisor yesterday. In preparing for this meeting, I pulled out some old paystubs. I found that my hourly rate in 2005 was $27 and somehow/somewhere it was changed to $24. From sometime in 2005 (not sure of exact time b/c I don't have all paystubs, just a couple), my hourly rate was changed. The paystubs I do have (not many) from 2006 and 2007 all reflect the $24 hourly rate. My hourly rate was never supposed to be changed, and this was confirmed during my meeting as well. I should have been receiving my $27 hourly rate from 2005 through the present.

    I don't know why I never realized the rate was changed, but I was working long hours and I just never double-checked my paystubs.

    The staff looked into one period of time in 2005 just for clarification during our meeting, and sure enough the rate reflected $27 per hour. They all were baffled, and told me they didn't know how this happened, and that it should not have happened. I asked them if I was entitled to back pay of the difference in hourly rate for all of the hours worked from 2005. They told me they would look into it and get back to me.

    In 2005 and 2006, I was working 60-80 hours per week, just to give you an idea of how much money is at stake here. In 2007, I worked about 40-60 hours per week. Plus, there is shift differential and overtime pay involved with these numbers.

    Today, they called and offered me a check for $3,000 to cover back wages. When I asked how they arrived at that number, they couldn't give me a clear picture. I told them that I wanted an exact breakdown of the back pay so that I was clear what I am being paid for. They told me they were sending me the check anyway, and they would still look into it further. I have no intention of signing this check, and I will send it back to them.

    My question is -- what legal remedy do I have here? I am not sure when my hourly rate was changed, but they must .... don't they have to keep payroll records for 7 years? Also, there is shift differential and overtime wages that have to be adjusted as well.

    Should I file a complaint with the PA Department of Labor?

    Thank you so much for any help!

  • #2
    Originally posted by NewMom1101 View Post
    don't they have to keep payroll records for 7 years?
    Three years and that is as far back as the Dept of Labor would go during an investigation. This really does not seem to matter, since the company should have on file your records going back to February 2005 and your pay at some point in 2005 does not seem to be a problem.

    Feel free to contact an attorney in this matter. Personally, I think the DOL will shy away from taking the case since you claim to have been owed $27 an hour and your pay stubs for years show $24. The fact that it was once $27 does not mean that it could not go down.
    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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    • #3
      Could the rate in 2005 have included the differential, whereas the rate now does not (reflected separately)? I find it hard to believe that if you were really underpaid by $3/hour for 3 years, you've just noticed it now.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
        Could the rate in 2005 have included the differential, whereas the rate now does not (reflected separately)? I find it hard to believe that if you were really underpaid by $3/hour for 3 years, you've just noticed it now.
        No, we're just talking about the base hourly rate ... it was changed from $27 to $24 ... yes, I understand that it's hard to believe I didn't notice, however, it is true. I was working 60-80 hours and taking care of a family of 7.

        I guess my question is just this: are they legally obligated to give me the back pay? If so, should I filed w/Dept. of Labor? Thanks for any help anyone can give me.

        Comment


        • #5
          Maybe. You can file a claim for the difference, claiming that you were not notified of the rate decrease. The problem is going to be that you did nothing to mitigate the situation. I'm pretty sure that the DLSE is going to be skeptical of your claim that you didn't notice a decrease of $3 per hour when it originally occurred and for nearly 3 years after that. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

          Comment

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