I work as a nurse for a home health agency. When I hired in last December, I was told by two seperate staff that my hrly wage was 25.00 per hour. My first few checks reflected this rate of pay. Then, mysteriously, my hrly rate was decre3ased by 4.00 per hr. and I was only being paid 21.00 per hr. I received no notification that this had occured or an explanation of why it was being done. I did not notice that it had happened until last weekend when I was reviewing all of my paychek stubs. I brought it to the payroll director who agreed to reimburse the difference in pay but the offic manager stepped in when she realized that it was going to be a significant amount of money to be reimbursed. Now the office manager has made an offer to reimburse me 2.00 per hr instead of the 4.00 per hr that I was shorted. Is this legal? Is there a time limit on recupement? ~Debra K
State/Country relating to question: Michigan
I wnt to the work office and spoke with the payroll director and also to the office manager anbd made them aware of what had happened. The office manager is pushing me to sign papers stating that I was to be reimbursed at 2.00 per hr for the shortage, instead of the 4.00 that is owed to me. She also wants me to sign a seperate paper stating that my hrly wage is 21.00 instead of the 25.00 that I was promised when I started working there.
Hello I am a licensed attorney here to help you with your question, please review my response and do not hesitate to ask for clarification.
This is not legal, it is true an employer can change your wages at anytime, unless you are part of a contract or Union, however, they must provide you notice of the change. You did the work with an understanding that you were to be paid a certain rate,
and did not agree to work at a lower rate.
You can sue the employer for the full back wages, or file an official wage complaint with the State of Michighan labor department.
The employer is trying to save money by offerring you the lower rate now as a settlement.
Wage and Hour/Labor Standards - State Agency
Michigan Department of Labor & Economic GrowthWage & Hour Division7150 Harris Drive, Box 30476Lansing, MI XXXXX-XXXXPhone: (XXX) XXX-XXXXWeb Address: http://www.michigan.gov/dleg/0,1607,7-154-27673---,00.html
You can file an official complaint at the above location.
If you file a complaint, then the employer is prohibited from taking any negative action against you, and you may want to use the threat of filing a wage complaint to negotiate a better pay rate.
Thank you for the offered information. I did tell the office manager that legally I should have received notification of a reduction in wages. She now denies that I was offered the promised hrly rate of 25.00. One of the office staff who assisted me with an the hiring paperwork, is no longer with the company. The other person who told me this hrly rate for the case I was offered, is backpeddaling now, and is adamently denying that she told me the quoted wage of 25.00 hr. Because of the nature of the type of services provided by home care agencies, rate of pay is commonly variable and rate of pay is determined by many factors such as: type of client insurance, need of the company to cover the hours needed with available staff, how complex the work is required to care for the client. In general, the base rate for an LPN is 21.00 hr and an RN is 25.00, but there is always room for flexibility and wage increases from there. The office manager is now standing by the LPN rate of 21.00 hr and is offering to cut me a deal of compensation of 23.00 hr reimbursement instead of the 25.00 hr. My fear is that because hrly wages are variable in many cases and there is never a job offer given in writing along with expected hrly wage, that it may come down to her word against mine and if the clinical supervisor denies she offered me 25.00 to take the case, I would lose my case. However, when I went to the office and talked with the payroll director and the office manager, I was smart enough to voice record all conversations and I also have the email that I received from the office manager, offering to reimburse me half rate at 2.00 instead of the 4.00 that I was shorted.
That may be an issue, however the fact that the first few checks reflected the $25.00 per hour wage rate is all the evidence you need.
I was told by a previous home health care agency employer that it is the employee's responsibility to inspect their check stub and that there is a time limit that the employee has to bring discrepencies to the employers attention. I am on god terms with this previous employer, but she isn't a lawyer.
It is true you should have taken care of the reduction at the time your pay was reduced,
however, you would still be able to file a wage claim now and let the State investigate the matter.
I also made the point with current office manager that I was not receiving my pay check stubs each week in the mail as required, and that I received a month's worth at a time, stapled together and mailed more than a month late. By then, money was spent that was direct deposited onto a Visa payroll card and was very difficult to cross check at that point.
The employer has to abide by State law, which requires payment on a schedule,
What should my next step be in dealing with the office manager. She has left me a voicemail on my cell phone and also emailed me paperwork that she is urgently wanting me to sign for the 2.00 hr reimbursement instead of 4.00 and another paper that I am aware that my wage will be 21.00 hr starting with next scheduled workday which is tomorrow.
You should send a letter to HR stating that you want to discuss this matter and have it settled fairly, or you will file the complaint.
In which manner should I send the letter? By certified mail? Or email her back with a letter?
I would send it by email first, and if their is no response within a two days, send it certified mail, and file the complaint a day later.
The importance of filing a State complaint, is that you obtain retaliation protection,
so the employer cannot terminate you or take any negative action against you for filing the complaint.
Ok. I am scheduled to work tomorrow and for the next 3 days after that. Should I expect the 25.00 per hr? She wants me to sign a paper stating that my hrly wage is 21.00
At this time, if the employer notified you of the lowered wage, you would be paid the lower wage.
Ok I understand. Thank you for your help. I will sign the paper stating that my base hrly pay starting on 5/11/12 is to be 21.00hr. but I'm not signing the other paycheck reimbursement forms stating that they paid me 21.00 and wage should have been 23.00 (instead of the 25.00 that it really should be). I have a paycheck reimbursement form for every week that I worked dating back to last December when I started working for them. There are many.
You should state in your letter that you want to be paid the promised amount till the new date.
My only other concern is that if I sign the paper stating that beginiing on 5/11/12 my rate of pay is 21.00 hr, I have no room to negotiate any future pay increases based on need of future clients, ect. Even for my existing client, I will not be able to negotiate a higher rate if they need me to cover for a call off, holiday or another shift. Normally, the employee can negotiate for higher hrly rate in these circumstances. By signing this paper, does that me I'm locked out of any negotiations in the future?
No you would not be locked out in the future, and you can put language in the agreement, that nothing signed today will limit you or the employer from negotiating a higher pay rate in the future.
Im thinking that I should file a complaint now, to protect against being fired, because when I send my letter to them stating that I want to be reimbursed in full at the rate I was originally quoted, that they may try to terminate me.
That would be fine as well, and you can negotiate at the same time.
ok. I think that is what I have decided to do. Thank you so much for the valuable information and counsel. I will pass this site on to friends and family. Feedback rating is a definite 100% satifaction. Thanks
Good luck, and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.
I definitely will. Thanks so much!
13 years experience, Union NYSUT lawyer
I sent an email to my employer requesting that I be reimbursed the 4.00 per hr that they had shorted me on my paychecks. They responded with an email offering to meet me in the middle and pay me 2.00 per hr more, so instead of reimbursing me 4.00 per hr, they would reimburse me 2.00 per hr , stating that they were attempting to be fair to both of us. I sent a return email stating that I expected to be reimbursed in full the 4.00 per hr for each hr on each check that I was shorted. I also told them that I had consulted with a lawyer, informally, and also with the dept of labor and wages. I told them that I preferred to settle the matter privately between the two parties and it was not my wish to pursue legal steps to get the matter resolved. Five days have passed, and now I just received an email from them asking me to call the office to discuss my paychecks with them. I am leery to call them and discuss this on the phone as i have no way to keep record of what conversations transpired. What should my next step be?~
This is good news, and I would at this point ask them what they want to do and if they will settle for a higher amount, I would not worry about any issue of recording the conversation, as you can file a labor complaint later.
It seems to me they are scared that you will file a complaint and may be willing to settle with your for a higher amount.
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