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Shorted pay check questions California

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  • Shorted pay check questions California

    My wife and I recently applied for a mortgage. I was reviewing her paystubs, she was told she is paid 12.50 per hour, and a while ago they asked her if she'd like to switch to salary, they explained that while she would not receive overtime any longer she would receive paid holidays and a week of paid vacation. She accepted. Nowhere was she told that her overall compensation would decrease.

    Upon reviewing her paystubs I found that they are paying her a gross amount of 1,000.00 twice per month on the 5th and the 20th of each month. If this total is equal to 80 hours of employment then indeed she is being paid 12.50 per hour, however in a semi monthly pay cycle there are some weeks with 96 hours, some with 72 hours and some with 80 hours. She is being paid 1,000.00 every two weeks. Therefore she is being shorted by almost 2,000.00 per year.

    (12.50 x 2080 hours in a full time work year = 26000.00, 1000.00 x 24 paychecks only equals 24,000.00 per year) how does she present this to her employer in a tactful yet logical way? i believe that this was simply an accounting error and not intentional deception.

  • #2
    "Hourly" and "salaried" are merely pay methods. However, if they are treating her as exempt (from minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA and CA wage and hour laws, her salary must be at least $640 per week and $2000 doesn't begin to reach that level.

    What type of company is this (not its name) and what exactly are her job duties?

    Having said that, not being told a reduction in the "overall compensation" (assuming this was a result of no longer being paid overtime pay) was not illegal on its face.
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    • #3
      She was told once she went on salary that her pay was computed at 12.50 per hour, but not given the annual amount. Given that there are 2080.00 hours per work year 12.50 an hour is equal to 26k a year. she is being paid 2000 per month gross, or 2 paychecks for 1000 each. that's only 24000.00 per year.

      She works at a day care / private school for young children.

      if you break down her actual pay she's receiving 11.53 an hour.

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      • #4
        But what exactly does she DO there? I'm going somewhere with this and I need an answer to that question--is she a teacher?
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        • #5
          yes but it's a private school for toddlers so she's not like licensed, but that's what they call her position at the school.

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          • #6
            my other question is, as far as california law goes how much back pay is she entitled to? The mistake began happened aug 2009.

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            • #7
              I looked it up, according to FLSA, two years.

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              • #8
                Although even teachers in a preschool can be exempt and per the FLSA, are exempt from the salary requirement for exempt employees, it does appear that California requires that a "teacher" for purposes of the Professional exemption must have certain certifications OR teach in a college or university AND are not exempt from the minimum salary requirements for exempt employees.
                http://www.dir.ca.gov/IWC/IWCArticle4.pdf

                She can confirm with the DLSE and, if applicable, file a claim with them.
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                • #9
                  when you file a claim with the state, do they investigate the employer? I'm meeting with her boss today to inform him of the discrepancy and to give him a time frame of 10 business days to propose a resolution to this problem. My wife loves her job and the kids and I'd hate to ruin that environment, but I don't think she'll continue working there if they do not rectify it.

                  Patty, thank you SO much for your help.

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                  • #10
                    The state may or may not decide to do a full investigation. That's their call to make.

                    If you'll take a piece of well-meaning advice, I strongly suggest that you cancel your meeting with your wife's boss. You do not have any standing to get involved in your wife's employment, and her employer has no legal obligation to discuss it with you. Rather, it should be your wife who addresses the question with them. No problem with your gathering information with her, but when it comes to actually confronting the employer, you can make matters worse by getting involved where you have no standing to do so. The school could decide to fire your wife based on your interference, but they cannot legally fire her for addressing her own pay irregularities.
                    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.

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                    • #11
                      Agree with cbg's advice. I'm surprised the employer even agreed to talk to you. You stay out of it and let your wife handle it; she's the employee, not you.
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                      • #12
                        my wife did not feel confident that she could explain the error in her payroll to her employer, and I got this message a little late. Everything he has done so far has been upstanding as an employer, in fact she was not expecting the raise at all, let alone the amount she was given, after discovering that he's shorting her $1 per hour, I almost feel bad asking for it, except that it was expressly stated to her that she would be paid that amount hourly.

                        The conversation went well, he explained that she's shorted only if you figure it out the way I figured it, which I told him is the only way to figure it. I told him I feel she is owed the difference and I want to know if he plans to remedy the situation within 10 business days.

                        I think my next step is to contact the state labor board and just find out what my rights are and also to contact my attorney and see what he advises. Clearly I don't know what I'm doing and shouldn't do anything without legal advice.

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                        • #13
                          As I stated before, her salary does not meet the criteria for exempt status; therefore, by default, she is nonexempt. That means she must be paid for all hours worked.

                          YOU are not the employee. YOU cannot legally demand anything. YOU cannot file a claim with the DLSE and an attorney would not be representing YOU. If this whole letter thing works out, good for her. If it doesn't and it is decided to either file a claim or a law suit, when it comes time to answer questions, SHE is going to have to be the one to respond.
                          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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