Greetings! This is my probation period in this IT company. During the last two months there was really not much work assigned to me as I was working from home as asked by my Boss but now they have deducted 60% of my monthly salary from last two months without any prior notice or discussion. At the time of joining , I had only received a offer letter which has no mention of span of probation period or any terms or conditions lettter attatched to it. It was more like plain text consisting the mention of my monthly in hand salary and the last date of doc verification and joining. Now when I put an enquiry on the deducted amount with my HR, he has to say that it is in their HR policy which is still unknown to me since I have not received any terms and conditions letter from their side so far. My question is can they deduct from my monthly salaries without any prior discussions only because I'm on my probation period? Thank you.
From India, New Delhi

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Dear Lalita,

Salary is the monetary compensation payable to the employee for the services he has done during the particular wage period as already agreed in the contract of employment. Whether it is WFH or work at the place of work, when some work is assigned to the employee irrespective of its quantity, the employee falls into the disposal of the employer. Therefore, there cannot be unilaterally decided reduction in the agreed salary by the employer under the pretext of insufficient work. The status of the employee such as probationer or confirmed one does not extend a free-hand to the employer to effect reduction in the predetermined salary of the employee. Certainly it is a clear cut breach of the terms of the contract of employment as well as illegal deduction under the Payment of Wages Act,1936, if applicable.

From India, Salem
Dear Lalita Joshi,

This is in addition to what Mr Umakanthan M has written. He has given his reply from a legal perspective.

You have written that while joining the IT company, you were issued with the "Offer Letter". However, has the appointment letter been issued? This letter is issued, immediately after the employee joins. An appointment letter is a proper agreement between an employer and an employee.

Nevertheless, reducing the salary of a newly joined employee without taking him/her into confidence does not behove well for the company. It speaks of the mindset of the owner of the company. While HR may give a justification for a policy under which the salary has been reduced, it is a foregone conclusion that the employers use the shoulder of the HR to shoot. To save their faces, HR comes up with just some facetious justification.

You have two options now. The first one is to fight for your rights. For this, you may submit the application to the MD of the company for the restoration of your salary. If he does not reconcile, then you are free to approach the Labour Officer of your area. Please note that I am recommending approaching the labour officer and not the labour lawyer.

The second option is, of course, to accept it as your fate and move on. Nevertheless, it is not easy to continue with the bitterness at the very beginning of the tenure. However, whether to continue with the employment or not will depend on your financial needs and other domestic responsibilities.

General Comments: - Half a century is over since management science has recognised "human" as a resource. This resource does not depreciate and by harnessing the power of this resource, the companies the world over have made skyrocketing progress. On the other hand, a good number of companies believe that they can progress by laying a trap of employment for the unsuspecting employees. The progress and business expansion depend on the trust that employees repose in their employees. Nevertheless, not many employers understand the power of trust, and that is a tragedy.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
True, an employer is not expected to reduce salary without assigning reasons and without taking the employee concerned into confidence. And if any employer does like that the employee can approach the labour department. But in practice it will not work especially when the industry is highly organised and is supported by an association of employers. In this case the employee is an IT employee. If that employee goes to Labour department, obviously, he/she will be blacklisted and that may even spoil his/ her career. as you know the association of IT companies is very visible. I personally know a few employers who post the act of employees in the social media like linkdin. When HR persons depend largely on platforms like Linkdin for recruitment, this may invite troubles in future.

Another problem with respect to IT employees is that they may have managerial rights of approvals which make them out of the purview of Labour enactment protecting a workman, like ID Act or Payment of Wages Act. If such an employee files a complaint before the Labour Officer and the management defends saying that the Officer has no authority to take up the issue, you will be stuck. Therefore, before approaching legally, it will be advisable to have a settlement bilaterally between the employee and the employer.

The employee's position is weak when the employee is on probation. It is true that employer cannot reduce the salary and any act of employer terminating the contract of employment just because the employee questioned the act of management reducing the salary is bad in ethics. But when you are hired on a contract of employment in which it is stated that during probation period the employment shall be terminated "without notice and without assigning any reasons thereof", a letter without quoting any reason for termination will be legally valid.

From India, Kannur
Reality is different. Many organizations either not paying salary or paying less salary. Employees are also loosing jobs. Whether the employee is workmen or not , the employer are pleading to Labour Directorate about the business status. Labour Directorate in most of the cases are silent spectators.

But there are employers who talk to employees about the business situation and then initiate action.

At present situation it will be better to adjust with employer and to wait for better business situation in future.

S K Bandyopadhyay ( WB, Howrah )
CEO- USD HR Solutions
98310 81531

From India, New Delhi
I was provided with the offer letter only, at the time joining and the appointment letter has not been issued by them so far.
From India, New Delhi
You should have accepted the offer and a copy returned to the company. That is enough to establish employer- employee relationship. As already mentioned, you have legal protection only if your position in the company is similar to a worker. Otherwise, you will have to approach a civil court for breach of contract.
From India, Kannur
I am assuming that the case is during COVID Lockdown period.
Many companies have reduced salaries as they do not have revenue and cash flow due to the impact of the lockdown. Some companies have simply removed people, which in case of probation, is very easy.

At least, you have a job still, though at lower pay during a difficult position.

I agree it is unprofessional of the company not to intimate you in advance of pay cuts during the WFH period. It is up to you to decide your course of action. If you don't like what they have done, then search for a new job and leave. During probation, probably you don't need to give notice either. If you want to stay, go to the top guy in the company and tell him how you do not appreciate they way they have done this thing and how you would be happy to comply if they have just bothered to tell you.

The last way is to demand you get paid the full amount and threaten legal action, but that method of burning bridges is not something I would recommend to anyone without a specific reason to justify it.

From India, Mumbai

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