Unfair Pay System–What Should I Do?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a change from salary to commission:

After a period of earning a salary, rather than a commission, my company decided to change policy/contract and combine this. 2 x colleagues joining the company six months prior to me had seen their starting wage change from their original contractual salary before probationary wage, rise to full employee top scale basic salary without incremental rise. I began my employment with another colleague.Just before we had passed our probationary employment period we had a pay change. On top of our salary we were able to earn a commission per unit on top of basic salary. Needless to say, at probation meeting we were consequently passed by and not raised salary to higher basic as per our co-workers. We continue to wait a 6 year period to constitute a similar pay scale despite doing the exact role.

As well as this, the commission is paid on a 3 tier scale. Gold, silver and standard. Despite having no choice of standard, no relevance in size/scale amount of actual units to sell. The commission remains the same. It is a six monthly commission structure with the first commission being payable April.

Some people didn’t meet the criteria to claim commission at all and some earned up to 6k. No matter how hard I could ever work, over a 2 year period, thanks to location, eligibility etc. My potential earnings wouldn’t, under any circumstance earn over 3K in 18 months. My colleague has earned almost 9k in a six month period. This is only due to availability of product, time planning of product and position of employee at that moment.

Signed–Not Getting What I Earn

Dear Not Getting What I Earn: my answer is unusually over due because of problems with changes in administration of our server. I didn’t learn of your question until yesterday.

There are few workplace matters the cause lower morale than unfair pay. Your change from salary to a complex commission system and to seeing what appears to be preferential pay for some coworkers with different tenure than you is particularly frustrating. Unfortunately, managers devise and implement new plans from time to time that make inequality the rule. Can such inequities be corrected? Probably not without a firm resolve and clear case made by those such as you who are hurt and angry.

You have a first-person account of how this change has adversely affected you and some information about how it has or has not others. Have you spelled this out in writing to your superior(s) and Human Resources? Enlisting coworkers opinion of the new system might strengthen your case. Both written and face-to-face conversation are important to righting was is wrong. Remember that repetition is needed for those who are have hard hearing. Superiors not affected usually take for granted that people like you are satisfied.


Action need not wait until you have an annual or semi-annual review, but should be included in the discussion of your performance. Guard against focus on this unfairness in exclusion of the assets you have in your current place of employment. See yourself as fighter for what is right rather than a victim soured by what is.

Meanwhile learn what the other companies similar to yours are doing. Some places have company wide three tier pay, and a few have made pay knowledge open rather than secret. Search for good places to work for. And do what is necessary to find employment in them. We have a lot to learn about what makes working life good, and since you have but only one life, step by step do what you can to feel your work life and personal life are rich and in balance. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.–William Gorden