Wage concerns among H-1B workers

Working in Louisiana with an H-1B visa has many benefits, including guaranteed pay even during non-productive periods. This means that H-1B workers will not miss out on pay if they are furloughed or if their employer has to temporarily close. However, there are ways in which an employer might be able to legally reduce wages in these types of situations.

When applying for an H-1B visa, a worker’s labor certification application must include the employer’s offered wage. That application is then approved by the Labor Department, and the employer is required to continue paying that wage regardless of inactive operating periods. If that employer wants to retain the worker during such a period but also needs to reduce wages, he or she could file an amended visa petition and labor certification application, requesting that the worker’s status be changed to part time.

An employer might also go ahead and reduce a worker’s wage without any such approval. This is permissible if the employer guarantees the worker a bonus before the year is over. Although this might seem easier than amending a worker’s status, an employer should be sure that providing that bonus is realistic.

Unfortunately, some Louisiana employers end up terminating H-1B workers during difficult or non-productive periods. An H-1B worker who has lost his or her job does not have to leave right away, though. He or she has up to 60 days to either find a new job or get a different visa status. Since many employment immigration options are time-sensitive, speaking with an experienced attorney in a timely manner may be helpful.