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Can My Salary Be Cut Because Of The Coronavirus?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2020 | Coronavirus, Wage: Minimum Wage, Wage: Overtime |

Best Ohio Wage and Hour Attorney Answer: Am I entitled to overtime when I am being
paid a salary? How much is the “minimum salary” to be and exempt employee? Can
my boss reduce my salary even if I did nothing to deserve it? Does my salary
reduction mean I am now entitled to overtime? Can my job cut my pay from last

Just the other day
our wage and hour
received a call from a salaried employee who wanted to know if it was illegal
for his employer to cut his salary in response to the coronavirus outbreak. There
are a lot of companies that are doing this during the Coronavirus pandemic. Buzzfeed cut salaries. The
Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils announced a 20 percent pay cut across the board
before reversing after public pressure.

It turns out the
answer to this question could be quite complicated, depending on your

Can my employer
cut my pay if I don’t agree to it?
First, while most employees are not
guaranteed any fixed wage above that established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), some employees
may have a contract that does guarantee a higher wage. This is rare, but it
does sometimes occur. If you do have a contract, your best option is to have one
of our highly trained employment

review your contract.

If you have no contract,
then you are the mercy of your employer – so long as you are paid at least the
“minimum salary” established by the FLSA. And as it turns out, the Department of Labor
just published a new rule that raises the “minimum salary” from what it used to
be ($455.00 a week or $23,660.00 per year) to $684.00 per week, or $35,568.00
per year.

If I am being forced to
work extra hours for an essential business during the Coronavirus, do I get
overtime pay?
As our overtime law attorneys have previously blogged, if (a) you do not
all into any of the exemptions, or (b) you make a salary of less than $684.00
per week or, no matter what your job title or job duties are, you are entitled
to overtime for any hours you work in excess of 40 hours in a single week. (See
Is It Legal For A Company To Not
Pay Overtime?
; How Is Overtime Calculated For
Piece Rate Workers?
Can Hourly Employees Be Exempt From

Can my employer
reduce my pay for time that I already worked because of the Coronavirus?
The FLSA allows only for
prospective salary reductions, rather than reactive or “sham” salary
reductions. In other words, your salary can be reduced going forward, but not
retroactively during a pay period in which you have already earned the salary.
In other words, as the Tenth Circuit
Court of Appeals

explained in In re Wal-Mart

exempt status cannot be defeated by
a pervasive manipulation of payments that makes a “sham” of what purports to be
salary. The Court [has] recognized the “likely existence of a sham exception,”
as when an employer “ha[s] a regular practice each Friday of informing its
professional staff of the work schedule for the following week and of making
prospective adjustments in compensation to reflect any changes.” Such
adjustments to salary—an employer’s attempt to obtain the benefits of the FLSA
exemption without accepting the burdens of a salary-payment plan—can make the
employee’s wage the functional equivalent of an hourly wage.

So, in sum, if you
do not have a contract stating your are entitled to a minimum salary, your
employer may cut your salary so long as (1) they are not doing it arbitrarily
or retroactively, such as to render it an hourly wage and (2) they are not
paying you less than $684.00 a week.

If you believe that your employer is
not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime
compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as requires
under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or
Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards laws or you are
an nonexempt employee that has been misclassified as exempt or independent
contractor, contact the attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. The wage and hour lawyers at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, Call our office at 866-797-6040. Do not wait. The longer that you wait, the less that your claim may be worth.


materials available at the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at
this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the
purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to
overtime?”, “Does my job have to pay me for time that I’m sent home against my
will?”, How do I sue for wage theft?” or “What do I do if I’m not being paid
overtime for working 60 hours per week”, the your best option is to contact
an Ohio overtime attorney
to obtain advice with respect to FLSA questions or any
particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website
or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client
relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through
this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the
opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any
individual attorney.