Must an employer pay a salaried employee the same rate of pay as others in the same position?

UPDATED: Jun 17, 2011

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Must an employer pay a salaried employee the same rate of pay as others in the same position?

I work in construction (masonry). I am on salary but our company sometimes gets what is called “scale wage” jobs, which means each position is paid a much higher wage. Some employees are being paid the higher wage. I was told by my employer that he didn’t have to pay me the higher wage because I am on salary. Is this true? Also, I am supposed to be a salary employee but I do not get vacation pay, and if a job is slow I am laid off for a month or so until the job is ready to go. If I am salary, shouldn’t I remain on salary?

Asked on June 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, not all employees doing the same job need be paid the same wage. Secondly, vacation pay is discretionary. In other words it is a benefit that an employer can choose to give or not, regardless of whether or not you are a salaried employee. Finally, periodic layoff are also legal for salaried or any employees.

The above holds tur unless these actions run counter to an employment contract or union agreement, or is based on some form of workplace discrimination. Absent that your employer's actions do not violate the law. The majority of employment arrangements are what is known as "at will". Therefore, an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason at all, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit. In turn, an employee can work for an employer or not, their choice.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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