QLD Salary Change - Breach of Contract?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by MBright, 1 November 2017.

  1. MBright

    MBright Active Member

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    I work at a company where I had an employment contract for full time employment at 80k PA plus superannuation.

    The director came to me and stated that due to financial hardship, the rate would be reduced to 60k for a while until things got better. I agreed to this verbally to do my part. It has now been 8 months and there is no change back to my original rate in sight. The company is making solid profits again.

    There is no clause in my contract allowing for changes to salary nor have I signed a new contract. Is it wise to approach my employer for breach of contract or has it now been too long? Can they fire me if I demand a return to 80k? If I decided to leave, do I have any grounds for backpay?

    Any suggestions would help.

    The last contract I singed was in 2013 for the 80k. I have been with the company for 6 years.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member
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    1. Only you can answer this question. You may get your salary back or sacked.
    2. No
    3. Yes, a creative employer can nearly always find ways to legally sack someone. Stupid/careless/ruthless employers just fire people and deal with any fallout later. Illegal sackings can and has been used as a 'cost of business'.
    4. Quite likely. But needs a lawyer to look at facts/paperwork.

    Is what happening fair to you? No.

    What to do depends on how risk averse you are and the level of risk depends on the attitude of the employer. No-one here knows your employer like you do.
     
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  3. MBright

    MBright Active Member

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    Thanks for the Input Rod,

    My employer does have issues (angers quickly, has tunnel vision), and I know when he is done with someone he will find a way to get rid of them. I have been around long enough to see it happen to many employees. I am fairly certain that if I bring this up, a new contract will be offered at my current rate. From my understanding I do not have to agree to this but the alternative is leaving. The areas I am not too sure on are;

    If I do not agree to a new contract, am I quitting or is it a redundancy?

    Because I have been on the lower pay for so long, does this count as agreement to the new wage?

    In the past, management has gotten around people that don't fall in line with spontaneous performance reviews (the target of the inquisition is given low marks, this is used for future dismissal), denial of leave, assigning menial or impossible tasks, extended probation periods on new employees etc.

    Nothing is really illegal but a lot of it is extremely unfair on employees. I don't want to be subject to that. Ideally if I cannot get my old pay I would like to leave with backpay, but I very much doubt my bosses pride would allow that.

    If anyone has any input that would be great, but it looks like I may have to seek some legal advice on this.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member
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    When is your current contract due to finish?
     
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  5. Amelie1997

    Amelie1997 Member

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    Makka

    It seems that you agreed to the reduced salary verbally and then that would have been reflected in writing via your pay slips.

    You speak of a contract therefore, when it comes to the end of your contract term (if you are either not offered an extension or choose not to extend) that is the termination date - no redundancy.

    If I have mis-interpreted something please let me know - I don't see any cause of action here.
     
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  6. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    quit - go get a job somewhere else.... Maybe, you could say to the boss that you're planning on leaving, or sourcing other work because you need to make up the lost income... But mate, you don't want to take on the boss, hiding to nothing..
     
  7. Clancy

    Clancy Well-Known Member

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    Ok what happened in our company is very similar.... we had a branch open in Perth WA, but the economy there is DEAD, seriously, dead!! so we verbally reduced the wages of one employee there.

    After 2 years we closed the office with no sign of WA economy improving.

    Employee went to fair work ombudsman and claimed back pay. He claimed he was never informed of the salary cut - and having nothing in writing, we cannot disprove his claim. On top of that, we have nothing in writing of him agreeing to the lower pay rate. According to employment contract law, unless he signed a new contract, the old employment contract still applied. So my Boss paid all that back pay, $20000.00!

    Sooooo.... you can secretly find a new job, then hit this boss with a backpay claim and you are sure to win!
     
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