Is my employer in the right to pay me less than promised?
December 18, 2014 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Is my employer in the right to pay me less than previously communicated?

You are not my lawyer, this is not legal advice etc...
I am taking a year's leave to look after a child while my partner works. My workplace is holding a job open for me to return to. I wrote to the payroll manager 2 months ago to ask when I would be paid up until in order to work out our budget. I was paid a lump sump to pay out my remaining pay in my last pay packet which was 10 days short of the amount I calculated based on the information I received. I queried this with payroll and they informed me that the Senior Manager of the organisation had informed them that staff in my position (going on leave, rather than terminating employment all together) would have a different 'finishing date', 10 days earlier. The rationale for this is that they will just start paying me 10 days earlier when I return to work. This was never communicated to me, until I queried this pay discrepancy. The HR Manager has informed me that it is unlikely that Senior Management will budge on this position, even though this places a very large financial burden on my family as a result.

The financial strain this places on my family is very significant, given the time of year and a few other problems that have occurred recently. I appreciate that no-one can give me legally binding advice, but any advice that can point me in the right direction to either resolve this so I get paid what I budgeted for, or gets me to stop pursuing this because they are legally in the right will help.

Other info: This is in Victoria, Australia. There is no union representation for my organisation.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total)
I think you need to consult an attorney in your jurisdiction. In order to answer this question, a person would need to have specialized knowledge both of the family leave and wage laws in your jurisdiction and also a lot more information about your specific situation. No one who is qualified to answer is going to be able to do so in this forum.
posted by decathecting at 7:30 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's common for places to pay you two weeks in advance, two weeks in arrears - any chance that this is what your workplace does? If so, it might be the case that you're just not being given the two weeks in advance payment.
posted by Ashlyth at 7:45 PM on December 18, 2014

Fair Work Australia list leave and pay as two issues they can advise about - you can call them on 13 13 94.
posted by Cheese Monster at 7:57 PM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Wait, you actually worked this time? And they don't want to pay it, but they will pay you for the last piece of it when you return to work? That's bullshit.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:03 PM on December 18, 2014

Wait, you actually worked this time? And they don't want to pay it, but they will pay you for the last piece of it when you return to work? That's bullshit.

It doesn't sound totally crazy to me. If they are typically paying you for the NEXT two weeks and not the last two weeks, and today is your last day, then they are not going to pay you - because you wont be working the next 2 weeks. However, your first day back, they'll pay you for the next 2 weeks, even though you haven't worked them yet.

I'm not saying this is definitely the case for OP, but if that's the scheme they use to figure pay, then it seems OK. (it's not the case where I work, when I started my current job I did not get a paycheck until I'd worked a full pay period)
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:13 PM on December 18, 2014

Definitely talk to Fair Work Australia. I don't think they can delay paying you for a year for work you have done.
posted by kjs4 at 8:18 PM on December 18, 2014

Call Fair Work Australia. Also check your employer super contribution for that 10 day period. Your employers cannot hold that back for one year.
posted by Kerasia at 8:24 PM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sounds like they are constrained by their software.
posted by michaelh at 9:37 PM on December 18, 2014

Also check your contract, and the maternity leave policy of your organisation.

I cannot say whether this is legal in this case; however it is not uncommon here in Australia. Also, use appropriate servings of salt regarding answers from outside of Australia.

Best of luck.
posted by smoke at 10:11 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

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