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salary to hourly wages

i was notified by the labor board that me having my workers on a daily salary was illegal, i decided to place them in an hourly rate and have them only work their 8 hours instead of 11 to 12 that they were working with the daily rate, some of the employees expected to get their daily rate divided by 8 to get their hourly rate but they soon found out it was about 10 to 20 dollars a day less, they are saying i need to pay them more but if i have them by the hour i wount be able to afford it and i would end up having to let some go, my question is can i lower their rate since it was a change in pay?

Yes, you can  reduce the employees hourly rate, as long as it is above the minimum wage. Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, although a number of states have higher minimum wages.

As the employer, you basically set the rate of pay. You can increase or decrease the rate of pay, as long as employees are informed in advance — before they do the work — about the change in rate. The best practice in HR is to give the employees one full payperiod notice before you lower their hourly rate. Some states require more notice than this, and some require less — but federal law requires that you tell the employees ahead of time.

Bear in mind that if the employees work more than 40 hours per week, you will be required to pay overtime at 1.5 times their hourly rate.

Also keep in mind that some employees may quit rather than accept the new hourly rate. If they do so, they will probably qualify for unemployment benefits.

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