Can an employer change a payroll schedule without notice?

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Can an employer change a payroll schedule without notice?

I work at a daycare center. We were getting paid on the 15th and the last day of every month. We were not paid on the 15th because our employer told us that it was not enough money in the account but he also bragged to us that he is opening up 4 additional centers. Without any prior notice, we were told that this will be our last paycheck until 11/20. This is forcing everyone employed here to handle a month load of bills with a 2-week check. What rights do we have when it comes to pay roll? Is he allowed to just change the payroll on us like that?

Asked on October 20, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The best thing for you to do is to call the Department of Labor in your state and to ask for help with this issue.  Employers can not unreasonably withhold pay from employees.  But the specifics on your rights and the filing of a complaint against your employer are best gotten from the DOL. A the very least they can point you in the right direction.  You have an established pay schedule here.  One could look at it as akind of de facto contract that you are going to be paid on these days in the month.  But remember that unless you have an actual contract you are an employee at will so different rules may or may not apply in certain situations.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You and your fellow staff members may have a cause of action. I believe that except in special cases, employees must be paid semi-monthly, so  your employer's actions may be violating the law. Also, while an employer can generally change many aspects of a job going forward, if he declined to pay you the then-existing schedule for work already done, that might be considered breach of contract. Your employer may need to pay you more quickly and also might be responsible for additional costs you incur (e.g. any bounced  check fees; cost of  loans to cover living expenses). You should, for a start, contact your state department of  labor and see if this is a matter they could help you with (enforcing any state payroll date laws). You may also want to consider speaking with an attorney (you could do it as group), especially if you anticipate further problems or a continued unwillingness to pay down the line.


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