Good reason to ask HR for my net paycheck amount?
January 26, 2013 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm starting a new job and probably won't get a paycheck for 3 weeks. I can't stand waiting that long to find out what my paycheck amount will be after deductions, but I don't want to seem greedy and weird asking HR for that information. What's a good reason I could give them for needing to know my net biweekly earnings?

If it matters, I am in Canada. I have used this Canadian payroll deductions calculator to try to get an estimate, but I'm not sure if I can trust it because other deductions might be coming off in addition to taxes, CPP and EI.
posted by kitcat to Work & Money (19 answers total)
"Hey, I'm preparing my budget for the coming year, could you tell me what my net pay is likely to be after deductions?"
posted by Jairus at 1:27 PM on January 26, 2013 [17 favorites]

You won't seem greedy or weird for asking this question. This question is so far on the tame side of what people ask us they won't even blink an eye.

Can't guarantee they'll know though, it isn't like we do payroll by hand, a computer program does it and may not be able to spit out an answer without actually running payroll. They may have an idea about a good online calculator or be able to tell you the rates for the other deductions.
posted by magnetsphere at 1:28 PM on January 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Just ask. This is what HR does and it is not a weird thing to want to know.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:28 PM on January 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

Yeah, don't feel embarrassed about it at all. The company would ask you how many days/hours you're going to work this month, why can't you ask how much you're going to be paid?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:28 PM on January 26, 2013

That is in no way a weird or greedy question to me. "Hi HR Person. I'm Kitcat, and this is my first week here. Seems like a great place! Hey, can you help me do the math to figure out what my take-home will be? Thanks!"
posted by Rock Steady at 1:29 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's not greedy, it's your pay and it's why you are there. They're not stupid; they know this. Just ask!
posted by DarlingBri at 1:44 PM on January 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

The 'good reason' -- don't worry, they won't ask -- is that you live on your paycheck, making its particulars very important to you.
posted by LonnieK at 1:45 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have they asked you to fill out the tax forms yet? If not, you could ask when you give them back. Like "So, I see I'm a D on that form, can you tell me what that's going to translate into for net pay?" I agree with others, you don't need an excuse to ask, but I also know that if I feel like I need a reason to do something, the fact that I don't really need one doesn't matter.
posted by looli at 1:50 PM on January 26, 2013

Another vote for just ask -- it's not at all a weird request.
posted by Majorita at 1:51 PM on January 26, 2013

Wanting to know how much money you will be making is a sign of fiscal responsibility, not greediness, so there's your reason: you are a responsible person.
posted by griphus at 1:53 PM on January 26, 2013

Claim you're moving and the new landlord wants to know what your take-home pay is before he/she approves you. Or if that's too much of a lie, claim your lease is being renewed and your landlord needs you re-submit earnings info and wants take-home pay figures.

I don't think asking is that weird though, if you ask once and ask politely. "HR - Thanks for helping me get setup here - really enjoying it so far. I was wondering if you can tell me what my take-home pay will be so I can plan my budget, since I won't get my first paycheck for a few weeks. Thanks!"

Or just use a take-home pay calculator. Not always completely accurate, but usually pretty good ballpark.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:51 PM on January 26, 2013

Budget is a great, responsible reason, and also a great, responsible thing to do. If they ask. Which they probably won't.
posted by gracedissolved at 2:56 PM on January 26, 2013

While you are at it ask them about the company match of your retirement plant contributions and how to max it out (What other investment opportunity gives you an instant 100%+ return? Max out even if you have credit card debt because even with compound interest you have to carry your debt for at least 5 years to make it cost as much as you will gain from your employer match ) . It is also good to ask about the past few years company bonuses, mortgage help, parking and mileage plans, training subsidies and all other possible benefits that far too many people may overlook.

People leave a lot of money on the table (for their employers to pick up and pocket) by not aggressively utilizing the benefits and discounts that come with their jobs. Don't be the person who does that. Read through your benefits package or employee manual first and then ask about everything.

Also keep in mind that HR doesn't work for you. They work for you employer. Only you have your best interests at heart.
posted by srboisvert at 3:42 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh and I forget to mention - since you are starting part way through the year make sure that they are calculating your tax rate on the salary you will earn this year rather than your yearly salary. There is no reason to hand the government extra tax money to hold onto until next year.
posted by srboisvert at 3:45 PM on January 26, 2013

Take your salary, divide it by 26, multiply that by .7, it'll get you within ~5-7%
posted by irishcoffee at 4:49 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

You don't need a reason, just say it's for your records, or give no explaination at all. You're well within your rights to request this information and they don't really have any business asking what it's for. They won't think that you're greedy because they won't know why you asked.
posted by windykites at 5:34 PM on January 26, 2013

And, though they might not have the info you want, they can likely give you an approximation.
posted by windykites at 5:37 PM on January 26, 2013

Even much of what they take out is potentially yours, until it is refunded or you have to pay taxes. You are just asking how it is all allocated until that time. Important question and not weird at all.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:49 PM on January 26, 2013

You probably want to talk to the payroll department and not HR. Unless they're combined at your workplace.
posted by eatcake at 9:16 AM on January 27, 2013

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