Do you ever receive your pay stub at work and think something just doesn’t add up? Before you write it off as being paranoid, it might be worth taking a second look. Unfortunately, whether by accident or with malicious intent, thousands of employers underpay their employees nationwide, and it’s a trend that affects people at all pay levels. Low wage and/or hourly workers are at particular risk, as their paychecks fluctuate based on hours completed, making it easier to tweak the numbers. This means you could end up shortchanged by the time your money reaches the bank.
Don’t settle for being paid less than your contract or employment agreement requires. Protect your paycheck by considering these ideas as you work each week:
- Keep track of your own time. Don’t count on your employer and the time clock at work to keep up with your hours. Whether you use a chart on your phone, or a slip of paper in your pocket, keep up with your own records of how many hours you’ve worked. Don’t forget to include hours of prep, cleanup, etc. Anytime you are required to “wear the uniform” so to speak, you should be getting paid for hours worked. At the end of your pay period, add up the hours and compare them to the hours shown on your pay stub. If you notice a consistent streak of being cheated out of hours, it’s time to speak up.
- Take a second look at your hourly pay rate. In the US, you are entitled to minimum wage at least, but many employers sign on workers at a higher pay rate, especially in a competitive market. If your paycheck is lower than you expected, do the math and double check that hourly pay rate. Remember that taxes do affect the final numbers, but you should be able to get a general idea of whether or not your paycheck is in the ballpark range of where it should be.
- The extras matter! This includes extra hours of work (which means you should get paid more) and unexplained deductions (meaning your check is less than you expected), and is another reason you should keep up with your own hours worked and your expected pay rate. If you work overtime (more than 40 hours each week) you should get paid a higher rate for the extra time on the clock. If you notice odd deductions listed on your pay stub that were not mentioned or agreed upon with your employer, make note of them and be ready to advocate for yourself.
That leads us to our next point, which is what to do if and when you see issues with your paycheck. Don’t immediately shrink away from bringing it up because you’re afraid to lose your job. You have legal resources and support behind you if you are, in fact, being cheated out of pay. Before you bring the law in though, do some research on who you can talk to in your workplace. If there’s an HR representative or a manager that directly works with you, they’re your first line of defense in getting to the bottom of the problem. If they refuse to help, or if you don’t see results, it’s time to go up a level and speak directly to your boss (if possible). If this isn’t an option, file an official complaint with the company and/or speak with coworkers to see if it’s an issue across the board. This can help you gain traction in getting your paycheck resolved. Finally, if nothing else works, call your team at Brooks Law Group. We are experienced in fighting for employees who need help in getting compensated on the job. We are Winter Haven’s most trusted attorneysbecause our passion is helping people in their moment of need. We know every penny of your paycheck matters to you and your family, and we’re here to help you get what you’ve worked hard for. Call us for your FREE, no-obligation consultation and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing someone is in your corner. When your paycheck just doesn’t add up, Look to Brooks!