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Question added to topic Human ResourcesAugust 25, 2009

Can an employer pay two employees with the same job differently?

My employer pays its employees based on the number of documents we complete in an hour. I was recently moved to a different department where the other four people are on a different pay scale than myself.
In a word, yes. Your employer can determine that the starting rate for a job will be lower going forward--that is for people new in the job versus those who have been doing it for a while.

Without knowing more information, it is difficult for me to understand on what basis the employer made this decision. I speculate that in the current job market and economy, the employer may just feel that s/he does not have to pay as much at this time for the work to be done as s/he formerly did when times were booming and good people were scarce.

It could be that there are other skills or knowledge that the more senior typists have regarding the job responsibilities. Regardless, the employer determines what rates s/he wants to pay for work to be done.

Hopefully, s/he uses actual pay market data and treats employees fairly; but this is not always the case. Have you asked the employer why you are being paid so much less than the others? You have told me what it is not (e.g., longevity); but the employer may have a good business reason.

I would want to know how I can earn more; and knowing why I am being paid less would help me determine that.

Penny is a seasoned human resources executive and consultant with over 25 years of diverse business experience in advising enterprise leaders on employment-related matters.

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