April 20, 2013

Salary vs. Hourly Pay... Which is better?

I've been a salaried employee for a while now, while my husband has always been paid hourly.  So which is better?

If I ever had my own business with employees, I really think that I would make everyone an hourly employee.  When I worked at a grocery store while I was in school, I would jump at the chance to pick up shifts and earn over time.  The extra money was a great motivator for me to work more.  There are times now when I think that if I would be paid extra, I'd be willing to put in some more time at work.

If I am really busy at work now, I will stay late or take work home so that I can meet my deadlines.  But I don't get paid any extra for it.  So what I usually do is wait until I have to leave early one day or come in late and just let my boss know what's going on and that I have been working at night and on weekends so I definitely have made up the time.

Also, paychecks were more exciting when I was paid hourly.  I know there would be weeks where I would overestimate what I thought I would be paid and then be disappointed. But usually I would underestimate it so that I was always pleasantly surprised when I opened the check.  I still do this with my husbands pay.  I estimate his check based on the minimum he'll get but he almost always gets a little bit of overtime a couple times a week, has to go in for a meeting or picks up shifts which all add to his paycheck.

When I was in college, a speaker came to talk to us once and said that on average an employee only really puts in 4 hours of real work per day.  At the time I worked at a grocery store and couldn't imagine that to be true.  When I was working, I was on the clock and had to work.  Whether I was running a register or working behind the customer service desk, there was no way that I could goof off four hours a day.

Now that I work in an office,  I can see it.  I really find it hard to believe that people only put in 4 hours of work a day.  But I do know there is plenty of talking and internet surfing going on.  Since we are all paid a salary, people aren't as prompt as they should be when it comes to getting to work right on time, only taking their hour lunch or even staying until they are supposed to in the evening.  I think when people have to clock in and out or at the very least write down their hours, they are required to be accountable and therefore are.

I know I'm definitely guilty of being a few minutes late back from lunch and I usually leave a couple minutes before 5.  I'll hop on the internet to check something out or read personal emails.  I justify it because I don't go out for a smoke 5 times a day, I don't stand around and chit chat for 20 minutes to friends a couple times a day, and if I have to, I am willing to work extra to make sure I make all of my deadlines.  But the majority of people on salary aren't like that and I think they use it to there advantage.

So in my opinion, although I do love having the security of being a salaried employee and knowing that no matter what I worked that week, my check will always be the same, I do think that paying employees hourly makes them more accountable for their time and more motivated to put in extra hours.

What do you think?  Would you rather be paid a salary or be paid by the hour?

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