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Forced Salary
updated: Dec 06, 2013, 12:39 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Can my company simply announce that I'm no longer hourly and force me to accept a salary instead? Is this legal?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 474886 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 12:44 PM

The Corporate aristocracy can do whatever it wants and get away with it. The system of corrupt corporations pollutes our earth at a criminal level and gets away with it. Corporations basically enslave workers overseas to produce their consumer products and nothing can be done. At home, workers can't even survive on the wages that are provided.

Welcome to your new privatized freedom prison. Too many dollars change hands for our voices to matter.


 COMMENT 474890 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 12:49 PM

Uh, yes. They can also fire you for absolutely no reason too.


 COMMENT 474892P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 12:53 PM

no need to even consult your lawyer
this could be better in the long run too


 COMMENT 474893 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 12:56 PM

Take a longer lunch and leave early. Welcome to salary!


 COMMENT 474902 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 01:09 PM

Be grateful that you have a job. And at a great place I might add.


 COMMENT 474903 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 01:15 PM

Totally legal. If you don't like your job I encourage you to start your own small business. Owning your own small business is a lot of work but also gives you freedom to be in control of your own life.


 COMMENT 474905 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 01:16 PM

What I say, you do!



 COMMENT 474906P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 01:18 PM

They can't "force" you to take a salary instead of hourly wages. You have the option of leaving that employer and working for another one who pays by the hour. You do not have a "right" to work for an employer of your choosing for compensation of your choosing. That kind of entitlement mentality is destroying our country.


 COMMENT 474909 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 01:20 PM

You want to look up California state guidelines for exempt and nonexempt status with respect to overtime hours. There are also federal guidelines for who is exempt and who is nonexempt, but I think they are much more lax than the California rules so the California rules take precedent (I think). My recollection from going from a salary to hourly employee a couple of times was that positions of people managers were generally exempt (salary) and anyone else was nonexempt (hourly).

My guess (and it's just that) is that your company has decided or is being required to properly classify employees and they are getting that done ahead of 2014.


 COMMENT 474911 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 01:23 PM

Don't confuse Hourly/Salary with Exempt/Non Exempt. You can be on "Salary" and still get paid overtime and generally as if you are are Salary.

Exempt v. Non Exempt is where the biggest difference is. smallbusiness.chron DOT com/salaried-exempt-vs-salaried-nonexempt-24213.html


 EDHATBARBARA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 01:35 PM

There are some advantages to being a salaried employee versus an hourly employee. How sick time and vacation time is calculated are different, for example.

And 911 is correct, one may be non-exempt and thus receive overtime compensation, as a salaried employee just as an hourly employee may. Whether one is exempt or non-exempt is determined by the U. S. Dept. of Labor's categories, readily available on its website. Also, the California EDD may be consulted if there are questions or issues.


 COMMENT 474928 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 02:19 PM

They can if you are an exempt employee as defined by CALIFORNIA law which is far more strict on this topic than federal Labor laws.There are exemptions for a number of jobs, employers, and members of collective bargaining agreements, but in general you have to be in a professional or administrative position, and your salary has to be at least 2 times what you would earn if you worked full time at minimum wage.

And while in theory you "can" be salaried while non-exempt, for most employers salary = exempt = no overtime; hourly wage = non-exempt = overtime. There isn't much of a reason for an employer to pay a salary to a non-exempt employee since they have to keep track of their hours anyway (to prove they're no violating overtime rules).


 COMMENT 474929 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 02:20 PM

There are some benefits to being a salaried employee, if you don't work 40 hours you still get paid for 40 hours. On the other hand if you are hourly and don't work 40 hours you only get paid for the hours that you worked. Also as an hourly employee if there is a shortage of work you can be asked to go home without pay. That can't happen with a salaried employee. How my employer explains the difference is the type of work that you perform and your pay dictates the classification (not your title). Check out the fact sheet online for the US Department of Labor website. Hope this helps.


 COMMENT 474934P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 02:32 PM

For management to announce your new standing prior to you agreeing to it is not cool at ALL!
Adams Law, an employment law firm in our area may be able to provide a consultation.


 COMMENT 474939 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 02:35 PM

You wouldn't have to worry about that if you had a Union to back you. Oh yeah, everyone hates Unions now, it just makes for old baby boomers that are lazy, entitled employees waiting for their golden years.
Good luck with your future.


 COMMENT 474940 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 02:39 PM

No one can force you. If you have an employment contract it should be in there. Otherwise, they're changing the arrangements so if you don't like it negotiate for what you want with the employer. If there is no contract write your own and present it in negotiations. If negotiating isn't possible, there's your answer.

The reason for a shift like this is most likely an anticipation that they will want you to work more hours but don't want to pay for it. Are they cutting staff? But whatever the reason, change happens. Start from there.


 COMMENT 474944 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 02:48 PM

There would usually be some sort of increase in pay to compensate for the loss of overtime.

If you don't like it tell your employer, this is a tough town and that works in both directions. Hard to find work and hard to find decent employees. It's in your employers interest to keep you happy, if they simply ask you to work overtime with no compensation I'm sure you can find ways to go slow that will hurt the employer in the long run and they know that.


 NEIGHBOR agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 02:48 PM

The real issue with salary vs hourly is the requirement to pay an employee minimum wage and overtime. With the info provided it's not clear what your work schedule is. Assuming that you expect this to be a cut in pay, your employer is probably trying to control their payroll costs by not paying overtime. There are legitimate opportunities for an employer to make that choice, but that might not apply to your situation. Check out this "Fact Sheet" @ the Dept of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/fairpay/fs17g_sala
ry.htm . There is good info there on who may qualify as an exempt employee. If a worker does actually qualify as an exempt employee, paying a salary with no adjustments for overtime hours worked is allowed.
Earlier comments about Calif rules being tougher were correct. DOL is the baseline.


 COMMENT 474980 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 04:12 PM

If you travel extensively for work and you are an hourly employee then your company should have/should be compensating you for all of your time related to work travel.

Many employees are incorrectly classified as salary/non-exempt status in order for employers to not have to compensate for travel hours.

If this situation applies to you, consult with a labor attorney.


 COMMENT 474983 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 04:17 PM

Thank you 906P.... this is something that unfortunately way too many in this country have forgotten. And to 886- your rants offer no constructive help to anyone, especially the OP. If you are so upset about so-called "corporate greed", I'm really hoping you don't own or rent a house, don't own a car, don't buy food, don't own or buy any commodity whatsoever, don't hire any type of service on your home, etc etc etc. Instead of offering useless rantings, go get a job, pay your taxes, be happy to live in the greatest country on Earth, and if you're not happy with something, DO something about it!!!


 COMMENT 474988P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 04:41 PM

474983 - this country is a great country because of all of the hard workers, not the corporations. There would be no CEOs without any workers. And as for taxes, you should note and remember and repeat the following:

a) many corporations that can afford to pay taxes, do not - they use tax havens and highly-paid lawyers to NOT PAY their fare share

b) Warren Buffet has repeated the fact that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary - i.e. the rich are not paying their fair share

c) Corporations were given huge tax breaks to allow trickle down to happen. No trickle down happened - it trickled up.

d) Productivity is the highest it has ever been - YET the salaries of those hard-working people have FLAT-LINED over the last 30 years.

In other words, the working middle class is working harder than ever for less, and paying more than their fair share of taxes.

Thus, not only is your preaching rant blatantly arrogant, it is also blatantly wrong.

Even the Pope knows more than you.


 COMMENT 474993 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 04:56 PM

Its my experience that those who rail most loudly against corporations actually work for the public in academic or other civil servant roles... Rather ironic since these are jobs that are paid with taxes from people who work for corporations...

If you work for the govt you do not produce tax revenues... How do you think your pay is generated?


 COMMENT 474994 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 04:58 PM

983: We are a country of laws....and this is something that unfortunately way too many people forget.

We have laws regarding employment, wages, overtime, pay, etc. Employers don't get to make their own rules. Employees have legal rights. Nobody forces anyone to hire employees, but once they choose to, it is the employer that is required to follow all employment and labor laws, or they will soon find themselves on the wrong side of a labor board and/or lawsuit.


 COMMENT 474998 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 05:07 PM

988P- I'm sorry that because your world view differs so greatly from mine, you instantly assume that I'm ignorant. Again... no constructive solutions offered, just name-calling and self-rightousness. I've heard all the fun facts you mentioned. BTW- I'm a very hard-working, self-employed person who came from NOTHING... pretty much the definition of middle class, right? Does that mean I'm going to disappear? I don't think so. I happen to offer very valuable services to folks of all economic levels, so I don't think I'll be going anywhere soon.


 COMMENT 475001 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 05:11 PM

993: Last time I checked, people who work for the government pay taxes just like people who work for corporations do.

And if you think people who work for government don't generate any income for their employers, you clearly haven't had any contact with the court system or the DMV, not to mention every other government run organization that collect fees (e.g. Parks & Rec, City Parking lots, University tuition, Harbor Slip fees, Permits, etc., etc.).


 COMMENT 475005 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 05:23 PM

Believe me, the rich pay their fair share. It's pensions that are killing this state.


 COMMENT 475007P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 05:30 PM

005 - Wow. What alternate Universe are you in???


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 07:30 PM

Well said, 983P


 COMMENT 475051P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 10:36 PM

Sometimes, it just happens...


 COMMENT 475052P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-06 10:53 PM

988P, you are correct. Thank you.


 COMMENT 475060 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 06:30 AM

"Believe me, the rich pay their fair share".... THIS has to be the funniest thing i have heard in ages!


 COMMENT 475061 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 06:31 AM

Soooo....we in the private sector create wealth, pay taxes, those taxes are used to pay public sector employees, who then have to give some back....as taxes. So no, public sector doesn't pay taxes, not really. It's like the guy with the guitar amp that goes to "11".
Doesn't really make sense, but that's the system we live with.
No rant here...really :)

Oh, and to the OP, you can't be forced to take salary instead of hourly wage. They can ask, and you can say yes, no, or negotiate. Seems pretty straightforward to me. Nothing evil here, just commerce.


 COMMENT 475065 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 08:34 AM

001 - um, um, really? I cant believe I have to explain this but then again, you may be a public employee...

Where does the money come from that pays the salaries of the public employees?

Its come 100% from the taxes paid by non-public employees and businesses. They and they alone generate the revenue from where taxes are derived.

From these funds comes the taxes that are paid by the public employees...so yes, they pay taxes but they are paying taxes from the taxes paid by the actual producers of revenue. (This isnt a judgement on ones merit or value, its a mathematical fact)

And if you think levying fines, taxes and other revenue generations tactics generates new, fresh, money...we'll I have a wharf that I'll sell you! Best views in the state, all the fresh air you can take.


 COMMENT 475071 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 08:47 AM

I told my employer I refuse to be a salaried employee. At my job the salaried folks don't get bonuses that the rest of us get and they don't earn time off like we do either, it's weird and I personally like having a reserve of time off and I also like overtime pay if I work more than 40 hours in a week and they don't get that either.


 COMMENT 475077 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 09:14 AM

071, I think there are pros and cons to both. At my company, there are salaried and hourly workers. The salaried workers get flexible hours so they can better handle family obligations and such. also, when lunchtime rolls around everyday, the salaried employee doesn't lose money for the time, etc.
In return, the company gets a fixed cost of payroll that benefits backend costs like bookkeeping, accounting, and time management.
The hourly get like you said, overtime and such, but if they get sick, family crises, etc....no guarantee of income.

Lets not discuss benefits like healthcare and 401k because that is a sticky subject these days and I don't want to rant here...:)


 COMMENT 475080 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 09:21 AM

988P I am continually amazed people can think that way.

I see government as overhead. We need some and there can be too much. IMHO, there is waaay too much.
Anotherway to look at it: government is friction. Inevitable and it can force everything to stop.


 COMMENT 475081P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 09:23 AM

Having worked in HR in California for more than 20 years, I can state categorically that "salaried" and "hourly" are meaningless terms here, with the possible exception of those who are unionized. I work in a non-unionized business, so can only speak to non-unionized regulations. Per State law (which is stricter than Federal and thus takes precedence), you're either exempt from overtime regulations or non-exempt. There are 4 classifications for being exempt; all others are non-exempt. The California Chamber of Commerce runs a website for HR managers called HRCALIFORNIA that explains the differences in understandable language.


 COMMENT 475092 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 09:46 AM

077 has it. wish I could get my team to see the value of a salaried pay structure. How it can stabilize your income, allow you to plan, allow for time away. Hourly, esp lower hourly pay is a trap and makes your time outside work more dependent on your time at work. There is a reason that trad professional jobs are salaried and 'less skilled' jobs are hourly. BTW I believe that most 'less skilled jobs' actually require a broader/more socially valuable skill set and hate that expression - low skilled...


 COMMENT 475108 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 10:20 AM

For those who think that value is only created by the private sector, without roads, regulated utilities, police and courts, schools, public health protections, sewage and garbage collection, oversight of agricultural crop and animal disease and pests - the list goes on and on - it would not be possible to HAVE any secure private property or operation. I left out defense...we have our two oceans, but a very cursory examination of history suggests that our being united for the common defense AND welfare is how we function at all. So think again when you say that public employees do not add any value to this country.


 COMMENT 475157 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 12:28 PM

I left one law firm to work for a nonprofit which paid me as an exempt employee. My job title was executive assistant. This job did not fall into the "professional" category by definition. In addition I was not told I was classified as exempt when I took the job. After 6 months there, I returned to a small local law firm. There too I was treated as an exempt employee, for the first time in 12 years working for other law firms. I was a legal secretary which is a nonexempt classification. However, this attorney treated all the employees as exempt so he could manage his payroll. I brought this misclassification to the attorney's attention and his answer was to reduce my hours and pay me much less. Nice huh. I left after 4 months. I am sure he knew better but the money issue was more important.


 COMMENT 475163 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 12:43 PM

DEE D, I don't think anyone is questioning the value of public sector work here (I could be wrong, I haven't read all the posts, just most). The issue was simply that public sector jobs pay taxes, but since their income is derived from tax revenue, it is a little nonsensical at best to say that public sector employees also pay taxes like private sector employees.
Thats all. :)


 COMMENT 475210 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-07 03:31 PM

Now they can make you work 60 hours a week and don't have to pay you any OT. Hahaha


 COMMENT 475301P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-08 07:56 AM

Simply put, if you don't like your job, do what it takes to get a better one.

Soooo tired of the public sector bashers. Try running your private sector businesses without honest law enforcement, an educated workforce, or level playing field, the result looks something like Mexico.


 COMMENT 475777 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 07:45 AM

In my experience assigning an exempt status to employees is done to avoid paying overtime. Often it is done in violation of the CA state laws. I knew of a non-profit in town that had everyone exempt, but they recently changed this because it was clear that the employees didn't ft that status very well.

I wouldn't complain to your boss, but would see if I could lodge a complaint with the State Department in charge of regulating this. You would have to stay anonymous unless you are willing to document what happens next in case there is retaliation. A boss that doesn't know the proper way to hire is probably also willing to do improper this to an employee they see as a problem.


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