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What are the telltale signs that you are being underpaid?

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2021 | Wage & Hour Litigation

Everyone deserves fair pay for their work – but how much is fair? If you are putting considerable time and effort into your job, you ought to receive fair compensation for it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Your wages are one of the most important motivations to wake up every day and go to work. However, it is not uncommon for employees, especially those who are paid by the hour, to be underpaid. But how do you know for sure that you are not getting the right compensation for your work?

Here are four signs that you could be underpaid for your labor.

Online data seems to back your curiosity

If you suspect that you are not getting paid adequately pay for your work, then you may want to do an online search about the average wage for a role similar to yours. A quick Google search should give you an idea as to the amount employers are paying that workers in similar roles in your city and state. And with this information, you should be able to tell whether your paycheck is on-par with workers in comparable positions or if it’s too low. Additionally, you can use online tools to get an estimate of what you should be earning.

You are not earning the minimum wage

This is, perhaps, the most straightforward way of telling if you are earning less than you should. The minimum wage varies from state to state. In Pennsylvania, the minimum wage is only $7.25 / hour. By comparison, California’s minimum wage is $13.00 / hour, Massachusetts’ is $13.50 / hour, and New Jersey’s is $12.00 / hour.

Some cities have even higher minimum wages than the state minimum wage. For instance, the minimum wage in Emeryville, California is $17.30 / hour, Seattle, Washington’s is $16.69 / hour, and San Francisco, California’s is $16.32 / hour.

Employers are usually permitted to pay tipped employees lower minimum wages. For example, the minimum wage for tipped employees in Pennsylvania is $4.42 / hour; in New Jersey it’s $7.37 / hour, and in Massachusetts it’s $7.65 / hour (but the total including tips must be at least $12 / hour). However, in several states (including Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington), there is no tip credit for employers of tipped employees.

If you are not making at least the minimum wage for your city and state, then it is highly likely you are being underpaid.

Your responsibilities are growing, but your pay isn’t!

If you are getting more responsibilities, your pay should reflect this. Try to keep track of changes in your responsibilities and the corresponding change in your wage, if any. This will give you an idea of whether you are getting fair pay for your work. One way to address the problem of increased responsibilities without an increase in pay is to ask your boss for a raise. And there’s plenty of advice available online about the best way to do this.

What should you do if you’re not being paid fairly?

Money can often seem like a taboo topic in the workplace. Many employees feel like they will suffer negative consequences if they question how much they are paid.

If you don’t know where to turn, you should contact our attorneys and ask for a free consultation to find out whether you are getting fair remuneration for the work you are doing.