Salary vs. Hourly

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Would you/do you prefer to be an hourly or salaried employee?

I'm almost finished with my first "salaried" job. Compared to all my previous hourly wage jobs this situation wasn't all that great! I ended up working 12-16 hour days and only getting paid for 8 hours. I went for several weeks without a day off a couple times. My sleep schedule and social life suffered. I believe my boss mislead me on several points in the interview process but I needed the job for at least 6 months so I was in a pickle!

I know people say that there are so many benefits to being on salary but I wasn't seeing any of them!

Anyway, does anyone have any pay method preferences or interesting stories about how you are paid? Has a boss ever sneakingly mislead you about the reality of a job?
I am currently hourly, but was salaried at a previous place doing the exact same work.

IF you do end up working a reasonable schedule, then salary is great. I loved knowing exactly what my paycheck was going to be every payday. But there was always one week that the whole department was working 12 hour days with no overtime, of course, and it's pretty difficult to pull those kind of days consistently.

I like hourly pay because I do get payed for my overtime, but the paychecks are kind of a roller coaster depending on how many work days are in the pay period.

If I had to choose between them? I'd probably choose salary. I would gladly work an extra hour or two of overtime without being paid for it for the benefit of having a even paycheck every single payday.

I'm salaried exempt, meaning not eligible for overtime. I would not want to be hourly except as a consultant or contractor where my fees more than compensated for times I wouldn't be paid.

Examples of things I love about my type of pay - my organization (nonprofit) is closed December 24-January 1 and the week of July 4 and I am vacationing and still paid. We get all federal and local holidays off and I am still paid. I don't get overtime and routinely work 60+ hour weeks, but there is flexibility through comp time for me to take a few hours or a day for doctor or to travel or whatever without using PTO. And I also get 19 or so paid days off in addition to the holidays and two longer closings. All of that is paid and predictable. I also do need to mention that I love what I do and work the hours because I'm passionate about our mission, not out of obligation. I worked this much as a unionized classroom teacher and now as an executive. The good thing about all of my jobs is that I've chosen things I love and that allow me to put in the time needed to accomplish my goals outside of normal hours when it's convenient (after Dia was asleep, at home while I'm cooking dinner, a couple of hours on Sunday morning before church, etc,).

As I continue to advance in my career, I can definitely see the benefit in doing hourly work in a contract situation, but that would only be because I wanted the flexibility of not having to work for long periods of time (two months off to travel or something) so any hourly pay would need to still cover the amount I make in a salaried position but require fewer hours of work to get to that amount.
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Last edited by dia99; 12-23-2012 at 08:00 AM.

I rarely work overtime, so that component is pretty much irrelevant to me.

But, for example this week, the company is closed on the 24th and 25th, so I am not allowed to work those days, but I also won't get paid for them. Unless I want to pull 13 hour days for Wed, Thursday, and Fri, I essentially have forced unpaid leave this week.

For me, this is not a big deal since my husband makes an excellent salary and my job is more for resume building than money. For a lot of people, this could be a problem
I'm salary and paid for 44 hours a week, but work around 50, sometimes more. If I have a shorter week though, I don't worry about it.

I usually get a pretty good bonus. Last month it was almost as much as my bi-weekly pay and this month should be similar. That makes up for it a lot! If that wasn't in place, I think I would prefer hourly.
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In my field I prefer hourly, usually. My job can include weekends & holidays, which would not include a differential when salaried.

However, the benefits of a consistent paycheck are nice.

I think there are pros & cons to both sides.
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Originally Posted by Poodlehead
I have been on salary for over 20 years and love it. Probably because I have a great boss who also owns the business. Flexible hours, casual environment, no dress code, no keeping track of hours.
I work less than 40 hours a week, I take an hour for lunch, I leave for doctor/dentist appointments, I take off as few or as many days as I want. This year I took off less than 20 days. Some years it might be 25-30. I don't work overtime or weekends or holidays. I know exactly what my paycheck will be every time.
I have nightmares about my boss retiring and having to go look for a 'regular' job with a time clock and all that. It gives me anxiety.
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Last edited by jeepcurlygurl; 12-23-2012 at 11:55 AM.
Salary. Hourly places I've worked never give me consistent hours and always create my schedule to avoid paying me time and a half. Overtime has never existed in hourly. They are strict in never letting it happen.

With hourly there is also no vacation time not do I get paid for sick days.
You need to read up on FLSA. Sounds like your employer was breaking some laws by not paying you overtime.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Coverage (Exempt vs. Non-Exempt -- The Online Wages, Hours and Overtime Pay Resource
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
I was actually reading those last night which is what prompted the thread!

I am definitely nonexempt whether I was salary or hourly. My boss and I sort of had this conversation a month ago but she basically implied that if I didn't accept that pay then I would be let go. For various reasons I needed that specific job for at least 6 months (and she knew it). Hence, my pickle!

Admittedly I probably should have been more assertive/aggressive but I was so sleep deprived and naive that I didn't know how to go about it.
Agree with everyone who said that there are pros and cons to both sides. I was super glad to be on salary when I was told that my hours were 7am-3pm. Lol.
My job is actually a mix of both, and it works well. Few departments in my county work weekends, holidays, and get consistent OT during each pay period so we are treated a bit differently.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

I'm salaried and hourly. I get paid the same every month regardless of how long or short the month is. But if I work overtime, then I get paid accordingly.
Most places have a few extra perks for salaried employees. I was hourly for years and thrilled when I finally went on salaried. I was salaried non-exempt though so if I did work overtime I got paid for it. Of course, the older I got the more I didn't want overtime so not getting much of it was a plus to me.
I'm salaried and hourly. I get paid the same every month regardless of how long or short the month is. But if I work overtime, then I get paid accordingly.
Originally Posted by mcheryce
Me, too, exactly. And I think it's the best situation.

I'm salaried and hourly. I get paid the same every month regardless of how long or short the month is. But if I work overtime, then I get paid accordingly.
Originally Posted by mcheryce
Me, too, exactly. And I think it's the best situation.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Does anyone know where to find the annual salary ranges (with overtime) and roles for staff receiving overtime in different industries?

I am finding it hard to think of roles outside of some healthcare and manual labor roles where an employer would be required to pay overtime and and the role still have very good base salaries. I agree that setup sounds ideal at any time, but don't know that it's realistic above a certain salary range for most industries I can think of. Meaning, in most organizations, if you're making near or above 6 figures, you're probably exempt under either the executive (supervision/management) or professional (advanced/specialized education needed for role) categories.
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Last edited by dia99; 12-23-2012 at 09:17 PM.
Depends... I'm hourly when I work at Disney, but the show is under a special agreement with Actors Equity ( union). You don't have to be a union member at Disney, just be cast in a union show. Each show we do , clocks in as 1.6 hours. We do 5, 30 minute shows a day, with at least 30 minutes between each show. Currently we have 3 30 minute breaks, and 2 one hour breaks. But it changes. They just can't keep us there longer than 8 hours. We are almost never in a full 8. ( Currently in at 9:40. first show at 10:30. last show ends at 4) We get overtime for anything over 5 shows in a day, regardless if has been 8 hours or not.

So I really don't mind hourly, there.

I'm salary when I do theatre. Because I'm the union, theres a minimum a theatre can pay, depending on what type of contract they have with equity. You can always negotiate for more. Depending on theatre, there is a certain amount of hours of rehearsal per week allowed. After that, overtime. We get little breaks every 90 minutes. There are other rules. I like salary in theatre. Lets say they are working on a scene that I am not in, one day. I don't have to show up and get paid , just the same. Ha.

I found this -

Highly Compensated Employees
Highly compensated employees performing office or non-manual work and paid total annual compensation of $100,000 or more (which must include at least $455 per week paid on a salary or fee basis) are exempt from the FLSA if they customarily and regularly perform at least one of the duties of an exempt executive, administrative or professional employee identified in the standard tests for exemption.
and this -

Fact Sheet #17D: Exemption for Professional Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

This fact sheet provides general information on the exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay provided by Section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act as defined by Regulations, 29 CFR Part 541.
The FLSA requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

However, Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees.

There are two general types of exempt professional employees: learned professionals and creative professionals.
See other fact sheets in this series for more information on the exemptions for executive, administrative, computer and outside sales employees, and for more information on the salary basis requirement.

Learned Professional Exemption
To qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;
The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and
The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

Primary Duty
“Primary duty” means the principal, main, major or most important duty that the employee performs. Determination of an employee’s primary duty must be based on all the facts in a particular case, with the major emphasis on the character of the employee’s job as a whole.

Work Requiring Advanced Knowledge
“Work requiring advanced knowledge” means work which is predominantly intellectual in character, and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment. Professional work is therefore distinguished from work involving routine mental, manual, mechanical or physical work. A professional employee generally uses the advanced knowledge to analyze, interpret or make deductions from varying facts or circumstances. Advanced knowledge cannot be attained at the high school level.

Field of Science or Learning
Fields of science or learning include law, medicine, theology, accounting, actuarial computation, engineering, architecture, teaching, various types of physical, chemical and biological sciences, pharmacy and other occupations that have a recognized professional status and are distinguishable from the mechanical arts or skilled trades where the knowledge could be of a fairly advanced type, but is not in a field of science or learning.

Customarily Acquired by a Prolonged Course of Specialized Intellectual Instruction
The learned professional exemption is restricted to professions where specialized academic training is a standard prerequisite for entrance into the profession. The best evidence of meeting this requirement is having the appropriate academic degree. However, the word “customarily” means the exemption may be available to employees in such professions who have substantially the same knowledge level and perform substantially the same work as the degreed employees, but who attained the advanced knowledge through a combination of work experience and intellectual instruction. This exemption does not apply to occupations in which most employees acquire their skill by experience rather than by advanced specialized intellectual instruction.

Creative Professional Exemption
To qualify for the creative professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.

Invention, Imagination, Originality or Talent
This requirement distinguishes the creative professions from work that primarily depends on intelligence, diligence and accuracy. Exemption as a creative professional depends on the extent of the invention, imagination, originality or talent exercised by the employee. Whether the exemption applies, therefore, must be determined on a case-by-case basis. The requirements are generally met by actors, musicians, composers, soloists, certain painters, writers, cartoonists, essayists, novelists, and others as set forth in the regulations. Journalists may satisfy the duties requirements for the creative professional exemption if their primary duty is work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent. Journalists are not exempt creative professionals if they only collect, organize and record information that is routine or already public, or if they do not contribute a unique interpretation or analysis to a news product.

Recognized Field of Artistic or Creative Endeavor
This includes such fields as, for example, music, writing, acting and the graphic arts.

Teachers are exempt if their primary duty is teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge, and if they are employed and engaged in this activity as a teacher in an educational establishment. Exempt teachers include, but are not limited to, regular academic teachers; kindergarten or nursery school teachers; teachers of gifted or disabled children; teachers of skilled and semi-skilled trades and occupations; teachers engaged in automobile driving instruction; aircraft flight instructors; home economics teachers; and vocal or instrument music teachers. The salary and salary basis requirements do not apply to bona fide teachers. Having a primary duty of teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge includes, by its very nature, exercising discretion and judgment.

Practice of Law or Medicine
An employee holding a valid license or certificate permitting the practice of law or medicine is exempt if the employee is actually engaged in such a practice. An employee who holds the requisite academic degree for the general practice of medicine is also exempt if he or she is engaged in an internship or resident program for the profession. The salary and salary basis requirements do not apply to bona fide practitioners of law or medicine.
from Department of Labor website. This is just from the Professional page - the executive exemption seems the most clear cut, and the administrative exemption seems most murky and potentially problematic for employers.

This is all very interesting and something I think about at work pretty regularly.
People rise to the standard expected of them. GC
At my job (engineer) the only way to be hourly would be as a contractor, and it's not a job I would want. Their contracts are the first thing cut in tough times, and they don't get the same benefits. They get more per hour but don't get holidays, may get 401(k) if the company which farms them out has it, may get healthcare in the same way... It's just not an ideal type of job. Now, if you're married to someone who gets benefits it can be worth the higher amount of take home money. I would get paid overtime if I worked it, but I think I have only worked overtime once in the 13+ years I've been at my company. 40-48 hours/week doesn't count as overtime. We do report the specific hours we work because all our work is under contracts and gets billed to the contract.
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