Are You Paid Fairly?

President Kennedy addresses AMVETS Convention in New York City by telephone.  President Kennedy, assistants. White House, Oval Office.

Everyone is compensated for their work.  It’s not just employees, even interns and volunteers are compensated, albeit not monetarily, through class credits and self-satisfaction.  What is your time and effort at your place of employment really worth?  Hint: It’s more than just the number on your paycheck.

If you’re quick to complain about your pay, reconsider all of the ways you’re compensated first.

Set Hours

Work/life balance is important, particularly to administrators who have families or outside hobbies.  Administrative hours can range from a start time of 7:00AM to an end time of 8:00PM.  Dependent upon whether you’re a night owl or a morning lark, and what outside factors you have in play, standard hours can make a load of difference in your lifestyle—think: picking the kids up from school, getting a dog walker, getting a nanny, having the ability to take that kick boxing class on Tuesdays, etc.  Most administrative positions do not have set hours.  In fact, most have long, unpredictable hours, often having to get to the nearest computer in the middle of the night and on weekends.  How much is your time worth?

Overtime

As mentioned above, many administrative positions have unpredictable hours.  If you are an exempt employee, you are NOT entitled to overtime pay.  That means that even if you worked eighty hours in a week, you would not see a difference in your paycheck for that week as compared to a week you only worked forty hours.  If you are a non-exempt employee, you are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of at least minimum wage (federal minimum wage is $7.25) although it is usually one and a half times your hourly pay rate.  A non-exempt administrative assistant making a base of $50,000 per year and a work schedule of Monday to Friday, 7:30AM to 5:00PM will have at least 7.5 hours of overtime built-in per week (based on a 40-hour work week).  So while his/her base may only be $50,000, they will make $14,063.04 additionally in overtime, making their total for the year $64,000.

Flexible Hours

Flexible hours is an incredibly valuable way to be compensated that many people take for granted.  Flexible hours means something different depending on whom you speak with.  For administrative positions, flexible hours could mean that you are only in the office when the person you support is in the office.  That is, if they are travelling, you are not required to be in office—you may work from home, but you better be available if something comes up.  Flexible hours could also simply mean the ability to work from home if necessary (and approved).

Vacation Time

Standard vacation time across the board is two weeks’ paid time off.  “Personal Days” are often included in this vacation time.  Sick days are generally up to the discretion of the company.  Any other paid time off (PTO) is extra and should be taken into consideration when evaluating your compensation.  Some companies offer unlimited vacation time (although it is unlikely that such circumstance would ever apply to an administrative professional), and others even give their employees a yearly stipend to use to go on vacation.

Bonus

The very definition of a “bonus” is any amount of money added to wages on a seasonal basis, especially as a reward for good performance.  There is a misconception that it is an employee’s right to receive a bonus.  Companies are not required to give bonuses.  Many companies simply do not give bonuses to any of its employees, and, unfortunately, administrative professionals are usually at the bottom of the bonus distribution list, getting the least amount of money—that is if they receive any money at all.  The industry you work in and the level of support you provide are two big factors when determining whether or not you’ll get the extra cash flow.

Want more? Read Are You Underpaid or Over-Selling Yourself?

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