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Salary pay

It's important to understand salary pay to compliantly compensate your employees.

  • Definition

  • How it works

What is salary pay?

Salary pay refers to a fixed amount of money that an employee receives from their employer in exchange for the work they perform. Unlike hourly wages, salary pay is not based on the number of hours worked but rather on the job's responsibilities and expectations.

Not all positions within a company are under the salary payment structure. Typically, it's reserved for positions that require a consistent presence or have specific responsibilities that are not easily quantified by hours worked. Management positions or highly technical positions are often salaried.

One of the biggest benefits of salary pay is predictability. Employees know exactly how much they will earn each pay period, making budgeting and financial planning easier. Additionally, salaried employees may be entitled to statutory benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

On the other hand, one potential downside of salary pay is that it may not accurately reflect the amount of time and effort an employee puts into their work. Salaried employees are often expected to work beyond the standard 40 hours per week, leading to longer working hours without additional pay.

Legally, there are certain requirements employers must meet when paying employees a salary. In the US, for instance, salaried employees must complete the specific number of work hours specified in the hiring contract to receive salaried pay. Additionally, some employees may be exempt from overtime pay, while others are not, depending on their job duties and salary level.

For overseas employees, salaries are governed by the laws of the employee's country. These laws may include minimum salary requirements, overtime pay rates, and mandatory benefits. You will need to navigate these laws to remain in compliance and you also need to consider living costs and cultural expectations when setting salaries abroad.

Offering salary pay can help attract and retain skilled employees. It also simplifies payroll management since the pay is consistent. It's a common form of compensation that offers benefits to both employers and employees. However, it requires careful management and compliance with relevant laws to ensure fair treatment of employees.

How does salary pay work?

Salary pay begins by determining the for a specific role. Various factors should be considered including the nature of the work, industry standards, cost of living, and your company's budget.

Typically, companies use salary surveys or benchmarking tools to understand common salaries for similar positions. Once you and your employee agree on a salary, it's included in the employment contract that is signed by both parties. Also included in the contract are payment frequency, benefits, bonus structure, and employee responsibilities and expectations.

The employee is then paid a consistent wage at the regular intervals stipulated by the contract and all necessary taxes are withheld from the employee's payments. Payroll software makes the process quicker and more reliable by automating most of the administrative duties.

Specific positions like sales roles earn additional income based on performance, but increases for salaried employees fall into two major categories:

  • Merit-based

  • Promotional raises

Merit-based raises are determined by an employee's performance and contribution to the company. Promotional raises occur when an employee moves into a higher position with more responsibilities.

When a salary increase is earned, your employee immediately receives higher pay for all work on their next paycheck. It's crucial to regularly review your salary structure including all benefits. As workforce trends change, your company will remain competitive with better salary compensation packages that boost loyalty and productivity.

Salaried employees are seen by employers as invested and long-term members of the team. They are expected to dedicate more hours to the role and perform at a higher level compared with part-time employees or independent contractors.

The perception is that salaried employees are committed to achieving the goals of the company, an effort that may require extended availability. The increased benefits and higher salary of the position are given to offset the additional commitment and workload expected from salaried employees.

While salary pay may not be suitable for all employees, when implemented correctly it can offer several benefits to both employers and employees. It's a systematic process of determining, enforcing, and reviewing compensation for employees.

Careful management is required if you aren't using a software or third-party service. Non-compliance with federal and international labor laws regarding salaried employees could result in penalties, lawsuits, or fines. Thus, it's essential to continuously monitor your salary structure to ensure fair compensation for your employees.

Key takeaways
Things to remember:
  • Salary pay provides a fixed amount of compensation, typically on a regular schedule (i.e. weekly or monthly), giving employees a sense of financial stability.

  • Salaried employees are often classified as exempt from overtime pay, but it's essential to adhere to legal guidelines for exempt status to avoid potential legal issues.

  • Salary packages may include additional benefits, such as health insurance or retirement plans. You should clearly communicate these benefits (and any deductions) to your employees.

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