If you think you’ve not been paid all your wages – you’re not alone. It’s actually a much more common problem than you might think. While this can often be down to simple mistakes and errors – it isn’t always. In this article, we’re going to look at some tips to help you if you think you aren’t getting all you’re owed.
A recent study reported that up to one in four people are being underpaid on their wages. This can often be up to a dollar an hour – which soon adds up over months and years. So it’s a serious problem – and not just one that affects low-wage earners, either.
So, how can you make sure you’re getting paid the right amount, and fix any errors if you find any?
Keep records of how long you’ve worked
If you work irregular hours every month – you’ll need to keep concise documents of exactly how long you’ve worked. If you don’t do this, it could be hard to spot any errors or back up any claims you make.
If you sometimes work overtime, you’ll need to make sure you record this properly. Some businesses might forget to add on any additional hours you worked.
Analyze your paycheck
Before you take things further, you need to make sure you’ve actually been underpaid and haven’t just read your pay slip wrong. Make sure you cross-reference the hours listed with those you know you’ve worked. If this includes clean up or prep time, or even travel to your place of work – then make sure everything is accurate.
As well as your hours listed, you need to make sure your rate of pay is right – this should be slightly easier to check as you should know your rate already. Make sure overtime has been credited accordingly. You’ll also want to check any deductions. This can often be where things go wrong, as you might be deducted for something you shouldn’t be – so make sure you know exactly what’s been taken off your amount, and why. You can also use an underpayment calculator like this to see if you’ve been underpaid.
Report any mistakes to your boss or HR department immediately
When you think you’ve found something wrong with your pay check – report it immediately. Fixing these issues can sometimes take weeks or even months, so if you want your additional money – you shouldn’t dwell on the situation. If it was an honest mistake, you might find the issue gets fixed without any further action needed.
Communicate with people you work with
Find out if anyone else you work with gets underpaid. You might find the situation is more common than you think. You’ll get more attention from your boss, and additional legal protection, if you act alongside other people.
File a complaint
If your boss or HR department still aren’t helping, you can file a complaint with the relevant authorities, like the Labor Department. You might want to consider getting a lawyer for large claims or difficult situations. Violating wage laws can be serious, and might require further action.
Hopefully, this last step won’t be necessary. Fixing underpayment can often be more straightforward than you might think, if you communicate effectively and talk to the right people.