Is Retroactive Pay Required For Delayed Promotion?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about retroactive pay:

If you are finally getting promoted to a change of title and rate increase for a job you have been doing, does the law require employers to give retroactive pay back to when you began doing the work?

Signed, Finally Getting Paid

Dear Finally Getting Paid:

We don’t have access to the laws of each state regarding specific labor matters, so you may wish to contact the Department of Labor in your state. If the matter is particularly severe and involves a lot of money, you might want to consult an attorney who specializes in labor issues.

Having said that, let me also say that I doubt there are any laws about this in your state, unless you are employed in a job that is regulated by the state in some way. If you are in a regular job, you were hired to perform work as assigned. Sometimes that work is at a higher level than you were hired to perform, but if you can perform it, you are expected to do so.

Many times, especially when budgets are tight or being cut, employees do the work of a higher level person without being paid for it. Then, when money becomes available they get the promotion to the position. That is probably what happened in your case. Think of the time you spent as time when you proved you could do the job well—so they had reason to promote you. If there is something more complex involved, that is when you might want to invest in an attorney. For example, if you were clearly promised you were going to get retroactive pay and now they say you aren’t.I’m glad you finally DID get the promotion and pay raise and I hope you do well in your role and continue moving up!Best wishes!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.