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If an employee wants to earn less, not more, what could possibly be the legal risk?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. Can we pay an employee minimum wage for a position that usually pays more? We have an applicant who doesn’t want to lose her pension benefits and can work for minimum wage yet still qualify to receive her pension. Should we have her make that request in writing? — Cindy, Texas

A. Yes, you can do this provided you do actually pay her at least minimum wage. I wonder, however, if the strategy will actually be successful.

Is her right to pension benefits based on how much she makes an hour … or how much she earns in a week … or in a year? Do the restrictions consider the value of any benefits she might earn from you along with the hourly wage? What happens when the minimum wage increases? What if she earns overtime?

You don’t want the obligation or trouble of being a party to fraud, either.

Consider offering her the job at what you ordinarily pay but allowing her to work fewer hours per week if the overall earnings are a concern. And let her tell you how many hours she thinks she can work.

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