How much do they actually intend to pay me?
September 20, 2012 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Salary confusion: They offered me (and I accepted) a salary of 50k. My position starts next week and is guaranteed through May. I don't remember them saying "50k/year," just "50k." So how much will I take home bi-weekly? (pre-tax and benefits, for simplicity).

I assumed that I could expect to be paid 50k total between now and May. Now I am second-guessing. Do they intend to pay me an annual rate of 50k, in installments that assume I work year-round? All of my information is from my soon-to-be supervisor. I meet with HR on Monday to do all of the paperwork. Should I ask HR for clarification? Or my supervisor? What is the appropriate way to ask for clarification? This is a position in higher education in the USA. Added complication: It's possible I will be hired year-round in May. What happens then?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total)
I worked a 6-month job recently and the salary was discussed per annum, i.e. the nominal salary was $50K ("per annum" was implied) and I received a total of $25K for six month's work. However, I've heard anecdotally that many US higher education positions are not paid through the summer. So it could go either way in my mind.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:45 PM on September 20, 2012

My guess is that if it's a teaching gig, it's 50k for the contract. If it's staff, it's 50k/yr.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:49 PM on September 20, 2012

Depends on the particulars. I'd ask HR. My mom, for example, works in education and is given the option of 18 slightly larger checks or 24 smaller, but year round, checks.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:54 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you have anything in writing? Any academic position I've had has always been accompanied by a written offer letter which explicitly specifies the payment term. It seems very odd that this was not the case here.
posted by grouse at 3:04 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

> Should I ask HR for clarification?

Sure -- they're HR. No need to be shy about this. It should be something they can clarify fairly easily.
posted by mosk at 3:09 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

This is a position in higher education in the USA.

Hard to say. If this is an academic position (say a postdoc) that may be a 9-month salary, which might be normally paid out over 12 months at 50k/24 biweekly for a year-round appointment, but could be compressed down to 9 at 50k/18 biweekly. Then if you get hired year-round after that you'd go back to the regular 50k/24 thing most likely. (This happened to me once and it was quite a nice surprise! The offer letter really should specify, but the wording may well be opaque, as it was for me.) If it is staff I agree this is very unlikely, you are probably normal exempt or even hourly. I think you're going to have to ask.
posted by advil at 4:10 PM on September 20, 2012

Call and ask.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:52 AM on September 21, 2012

To me, "salary" implies "annual".
posted by Doohickie at 7:21 AM on September 21, 2012

My salary discussions are usually in terms of the k, which is assumed to be k per year.
My actual pay works out to $k/27(weeks) - deductions, which put it around 70-80% of the net, depending on time of year (more taxes at the start, less at the end after they hit the cap), employer, and geography. A salary stated in k also *usually* assumes no overtime paid.
So on 50k, you'd most likely be getting in the neighborhood of $1300 every two weeks.

50k/27 = 1851.85 * 70% = 1296.30
50k/27 = 1851.85 * 80% = 14810.48
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:41 AM on September 21, 2012

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