How do I know if I am underpaid?
What you do for a living makes a big impact on your life, and you in turn make an impact on whatever industry you work in and in your community. And if you don’t feel you are paid what you deserve, you may wonder, “how do I know if I am underpaid?”
Most people spend about a third of their lives at work, so it is important that your job be both meaningful and profitable. While everyone has different economic expectations, there are certain expected wages and salaries for different types of jobs. Regardless of what you do for work, you should at least make minimum wage, and often more than that. But how do you know if you are making the right amount of money for what you do? What do you do if you suspect your employer is taking advantage of you and not paying you what you are worth.
Investigating Appropriate Pay for Your Position
Sometimes there can be a wide range of possible hourly wages or yearly salary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The responsibilities of the job
- Your level of education
- Your related experience
- The geographic location you live in
- Your employer’s financial success and reputation in the industry
- The market pay rates for your industry
- Competition and demand for your job
Some things that should not affect your salary include your gender, your sexual identity or preference, your religion, your race, or your parental status. Too often employees do find a way to subtly factor in some of these factors that have nothing to do with how qualified you are for your position. That is why it is important to stay aware of the pay that is customary for your industry, and where salaries stand in your area at companies that are of comparable size.
If you research a salary calculator, you can get an estimate of how much you should expect to be paid in your industry. Salary calculators tend to give a range of salaries, for similar jobs in the city you live in. If you are not very experienced or have limited education, you may be on the lower end of the scale. If you are more seasoned, you should be in the mid-range or higher. If you are being paid at the low end, despite your experience and skills, or even lower than the typical salary range, at the very least you are owed an explanation as to why your pay isn’t higher. In some cases, start-ups need to pay less money than what is typical, but most established businesses should have no problem paying you what you’re worth.
What Do I Do If I Am Being Underpaid?
If you discover you are being underpaid, it is possible that it may be an oversight on the part of your employer. It may also be intentional. Obtain records of your research that show that others in the area doing similar work are making more money than you. If possible, you can point to people in your same office doing similar work that makes more, however, that information is often not easily disclosed.
How Do You Tell Your Employer You’re Being Under Paid?
If you feel you should be paid more, ask for a raise, in writing. Having a paper record regarding your request for more pay can be helpful should your employer not cooperate or give a valid reason why a raise is not possible. Whether the raise is approved or not, it puts your side of the story on record and makes your employer evaluate the company pay system.
Some may suggest asking for more money in person, and there is a possibility you could be “called into the office” to talk about where you might fit in the pay structure. It is important to keep a record of conversations, and of details like whether you are asked to take on extra work, overtime, or are asked to work off the clock. If any of these things are happening as a condition to maybe get a raise, it may be a good idea to talk to an employment lawyer to make sure your best interests are being taken seriously.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay
There are several jobs that do not necessarily pay well. They might pay close to minimum wage, or a bit over that depending on the area. Often these jobs are in retail, the restaurant industry, or some other type of service. Everyone is supposed to make at least the minimum wage per hour. Some jobs rely a lot on tips, and for those jobs, the minimum wage can be lower than the Federal Minimum Wage, but only if the worker consistently makes up the difference through their tips.
Often in these industries, there may be issues with how work is distributed. There might be a limited number of hours to give, or there may be a mission to keep an employee’s hours low enough to prevent having to offer health insurance benefits. If full-time hours are offered, it is not uncommon for workers to be asked to do a small task before or after they are on the clock or check on work-related matters from home when they are not being paid. Some are given goals that they can’t meet during the allotted time, and may voluntarily work extra for free in order to avoid disciplinary action. These things should not happen. People should be paid for their work, and an employment law attorney can help assure that that happens.
If you feel you were asked or coerced to work hours that were not being recorded, a Florida Law Attorney may be able to help you recover unpaid wages. They can also help evaluate what you are being paid to see that it is fair for your area and your position. If you feel you are not being paid what you are worth The Feldman Legal Group may be able to help. To learn more, contact us at 877-946-8283 to request a case assessment.