by Stacey Carroll, Contributing Writer
When we think about working, we think about the paycheck associated with it, not the expenses we incur as a result of working. I once figured out that on an average 40 hour week, I spent 1.5 days working to pay taxes. I spent another half day working to buy food for lunch, and another half day to put gas in the car. When all was said and done, I was only working 2.5 days out of every week for me and that was before all the other miscellaneous expenses associated with the job.
It used to be that employers provided cell phones to their employees if they needed to get a hold of them during the workday and after the work day. Since almost everyone now carries a personal cell phone, many companies no longer offer this option. It reduces expenses on the part of the employer and adds convenience for the employee. They only have to carry one cell phone.
If you’re like me and only tend to use 100 minutes a month out of a 450 minute a month plan, you can easily absorb the work calls. However, I know a lot of people that use most of their minutes and text messages every month. This means that in order to absorb the work calls, those people have to increase their text messaging plans and their cell minute plans. That is an added expense associated with the job. If you have an unlimited talk and text plan, you're good, but plenty of people still have minute phones.
Working Off The Clock
It is illegal for an hourly employee to work off the clock. Of course, that doesn’t mean that companies don’t have unwritten rules that require working off the clock if all the work is not complete. I have had jobs that required research or online test taking while at home. I wasn’t paid for it, but it was required for the job.
In the case of a salaried position, every hour after 40 hours is a decrease in hourly pay. I had a job that paid $40,000 a year or roughly $19.23 an hour, but I rarely worked 40 hours a week. Most weeks I worked 50 hours a week. I’d get on the road at 6:00am and arrive back home at 4:00pm. Then I’d have to take calls from customers on my personal cell phone. If the customer’s need couldn’t wait until the following day, I had to drive out again. The added hours decreased my hourly rate to $15.38 or less, and since the job was salary I never saw any overtime. I figured out that over the course of a month, I was losing almost a thousand dollars in overtime pay.
Certain positions such as waitressing and pizza delivery pay less than minimum wage. The employee works mostly for tips. The hourly pay for waitresses has not increased in 20 years. They still make $2.15 an hour. Employees are now required by law to report their tips for the day and pay taxes on them. Companies are also required to make sure that the hourly wage plus tips equals at least minimum wage. If it doesn’t, the company is required to make up the difference. Companies do not want to make up the difference.
If the waitress only makes four dollars in tips for an hour, the company is required to pay her an extra $1.10 for that hour in order to bring her hourly wage up to minimum wage. Chances are the company isn’t going to do that. What they are going to do is plug in the minimum amount of tips to ensure that she made minimum wage whether she made that much or not. This is a two-fold gotcha. The waitress didn’t earn that extra $1.15 and she has to pay taxes on that $1.15 per Uncle Sam.
Companies have come up with some creative ways to cut costs, and almost all of them are touted as being more convenient for the employee. While it might be more convenient, it is also an added cost for the employee. I make sure I know all the extra expenses before I start a job. Then I subtract them from the hourly wage. If I can live off of it, I take the job, if I can’t, I negotiate with the employer for a higher hourly wage. Just because it’s an employer's market doesn’t mean you need to let them nickel and dime you. Know the extra expenses associated with the job, and know the hourly wage you need to survive.
Stacey Carroll is the author of the thriller series - Avia. She also authors the paranormal erotica series - The Blooddoll Factory. Stacey grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. she went to college at Indiana State University (ISU) and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in aerospace in the professional pilot program. She has flown Cessna 152s, Cessna 172s, the Pipe Seneca and the King Air. She also graduated with a minor in computer science that specialized in web design.
She has always been interested in reading and writing, and the first book she was ever read was the Grimms Brother's Fairy tales. From the ages of 6 to 11, she read the Nancy Drew series. By the age of 11, she had graduated to Stephen King novels. A few of her favorites include Carrie, Tommyknockers, The Dark Tower Series up to book 3 (That's where it stopped in the late 80s/ early 90s), Pet Semetary, The Shining, Night Shift, The Stand, It, Cujo, Christine, The Eyes of the Dragon and Thinner (Richard Bachman). In her teen years, she moved on to Anne Rice and got through about four of those books before they degraded. If you've ever read Anne Rice, you know book 5 isn't readable. Stacey has read a couple Harry Potter books as she was introduced to them in the early 2000s, and she's never read or watched anything Twilight or 50 Shades. Sorry. I'm a vampire purist, and nothing needs to be said about the latter. You already know.
She is currently an author and freelance writer. She received an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine in 2008 for a short story entitled The Field. In 2014, she was published in 13 Stories by Us by MacKenzie Publishing.
Other books by Stacey
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