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I am paid two different hourly wages depending on which hours of the day I work, but the specifics are left unspecified. Legal?

Seattle, WA |

I am paid one hourly wage for 'day' work and another for 'overnight' work. The problem is that I work many different shifts (e.g. 4pm to 4am or 11pm to 7am, etc.) and until recently have not been given any clarification or consistent application of what constitutes 'overnight' and what constitutes 'day.' My boss has finally decided that if I leave before 2am it is 'day' and after is 'overnight' but told me that this is subject to change at his discretion without notice.

Can he tell me I'm getting a specific per hour wage, then change it without notice? So in his mind I can work all this week thinking that because I'm working until 2am, I'll be paid salary B, but then my paycheck comes and it is Salary A because he changed his mind. Is that legal?

Attorney Answers 1


  1. An employer can generally pay two different wages for day and night shift or graveyard shift. If your employer has told you the wage, then you should be paid the wage you were told. He can change the wage after he gives notice. Some states require a shift differential, you should contact an employment attorney or the labor board to get specific details on your situation. You can find an employment attorney licensed in WA here on Avvo by going to the find an attorney tab.
    Best of luck!

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