Are you being underpaid?

Do you feel as if you’re not getting the wage you deserve?

Many of us feel that we’re underpaid, whether it be the duties that we’re doing or the hours that we’re putting in. You may feel that other companies pay their staff more for the same role. In some cases, you may even feel an employer is cheating you out of money, by breaking conditions in your contract or not offering the wage that was advertised. Whatever the case, before you take action, it’s worth doing your research. This will help give you evidence for if you do need to demand a pay rise.

Do the math

First of all, you should work out how much you’re actually earning. You may have been told you’d get a certain salary before taking the job, but when you start calculating monthly payments you may realise that the figures don’t add up. Use a calculator to work out your salary. Some employers may advertise wages after tax, whilst others may include it.

Compare your salary to others

Try to find out what other people doing your role are earning. There are lots of ways to do this. If people at your workplace share the same role as you, you may be able to ask them what they’re earning. This isn’t always a good indicator as some people may lie about their wages, whilst others may have personal agreements with employers that result in them earning less or more than you.

A better way of comparing salaries is to see what people in other companies earn. You may be able to find this out by perusing through job advertisements. You may even be able to hire a private recruitment researcher to find out what other people in your field are earning.

Read your contract

Checking your employment contract might be useful if you believe you’re being paid less than what was initial agreed. An employer may have agreed to give you a specific salary in writing – if they have broken their word, you can argue your case and use the contract as proof. It doesn’t matter if your employer spoke to you about offering a different salary – whatever is in writing is official. Also check if employment rights are mentioned if you feel you’re not being given these such as paid overtime, a pension or various monetary incentives.

Know your rights

Every employee has certain legal rights that must be abided by. You must be given a minimum amount of holiday pay, sickness pay and maternity pay by law. You should also check that you’re being paid more than the minimum wage. Check these to ensure you’re not being underpaid in these areas – your employer could be committing a criminal offence by not abiding by these rules.

What next?

If you discover you are being underpaid, there are lots of avenues you can explore. If an employer has broken a contract or isn’t respecting your legal right, you may benefit from hiring a solicitor and taking your employer to court. A legal claim might be able to compensate you with all the money you are owed.

If it’s a case of being underpaid compared to others in your role, it could be worth talking to your boss and possibly ask for a pay raise. Try to do this delicately and use proof of the tasks you’ve been taking on to show that you’ve been hardworking. Some employers may want to time to think about it – they may want to monitor you for a week and then decide after that whether you’re eligible for a pay rise.

Alternatively, if you think your boss isn’t going to alter your salary and you’re not passionate about the job, it could be worth leaving to find a new job that’s better paid and more up your street. Make sure that you’re aware of the salary you’re about to be paid before signing up to a job – ask for it to be put in writing if you want to have proof for future reference.