When an Employee Declines a Pay Raise

October 31, 2019 • Erin Kolecki

When an Employee Declines a Pay Raise

Although it seems improbable, employers may from time to time encounter an employee who declines a pay raise or promotion. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) identifies varied reasons this may transpire and offers guidance for managing the situation.   

Many school districts have staff who are receiving social security disability or other similar payments that would be discontinued if their pay goes above a certain amount, so they regularly decline pay increases. Sometimes they’re also paid below the pay range minimum. Each request should be considered independently, but there are no federal laws that obligate an employer to give an unwanted pay increase.

The article advises employers to obtain written confirmation from the employee stating:

  • The employee is voluntarily declining a pay increase for personal reasons.
  • The employee's decision is irrevocable.
  • Any current or future raises or benefits will be based on the employee's current base salary, and the declined raise will have no impact.

To read the full article, visit SHRM’s website.


Erin Kolecki is a compensation and HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Erin an email at erin.kolecki@tasb.org.


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Tagged: Compensation, "Employment law", "Pay increases"