New (and amazing!) job. First paycheck was a bit short.
January 23, 2017 3:40 PM   Subscribe

I recently accepted and started an amazing job that required me to move about 500 miles. I absolutely love the job and am so happy here. But I just got my first paycheck and it's 10% short. Should I say something?

My official start date was January 2, 2017, which was a federal holiday (New Year's Day - observed). The office was closed. However, my signed offer letter explicitly states that my employment began on the 2nd, not the 3rd. Holidays are paid at this job, and I was verbally told that I would be paid for the 2nd.

However, I wasn't actually paid for the 2nd. We're paid every two weeks, so my paycheck was 10% lower than I expected. This isn't a big financial deal to me; I can live on 90% of my pay without hardship. But setting up a new home is expensive, so I would certainly welcome my full wage!

On the one hand, I don't want to make waves with the payroll department. On the other, if they didn't want to pay me for the 2nd, they should have made my start date the 3rd. I wouldn't have complained about that. But I mean... the paperwork has been signed and it clearly states that my employment began on the 2nd.

posted by schroedingersgirl to Work & Money (18 answers total)
Of course tell them! Don't let this stuff slide at the start. Now's the time rather than later.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:43 PM on January 23, 2017 [36 favorites]

It's worth a shot.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:44 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

why wouldn't you say something? "Dear Payroll Person, I think there may have been a mixup with my first paycheck. It looks as if I wasn't paid for the holiday of Jan 2, although that is when my employment began according to my hire paperwork. Can you please fix? Thanks!"
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:45 PM on January 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

If the employer is big enough to have a payroll department, I would tell payroll you just wanted to check on how your paycheck was calculated to understand if everything is set up correctly. Then have them walk you through the calculation. It's their job, they won't be bothered by it. It might be different if you had to go directly to a supervisor/superior on this - I could understand being worried about annoying them -- but if you have an HR-type to talk to, I would do it.
posted by Mid at 3:46 PM on January 23, 2017 [12 favorites]

If it makes you feel better, you could even make up a question about withholding taxes or something like that and build it into the things you ask HR about.
posted by Mid at 3:48 PM on January 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I would definitely reach out to the person who verbally told that you would be paid for the 2nd first. I've done payroll and currently manage payroll, and we almost never know when people have been given verbal assurances that deviate from company standards.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 4:07 PM on January 23, 2017 [7 favorites]

Agree that it's totally reasonable for you to bring this up to the payroll person.
posted by radioamy at 4:08 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, say something, it's no big deal. Probably just a mixup between your "start date" and the "date you actually showed up in the office/started punching in at the time clock" if your employment started on the 2nd, you should be paid for the 2nd.
posted by AlisonM at 4:12 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes, of course ask why the paycheck seems off. I'd suggest you attach a copy of the offer letter and highlight the applicable language. This simply may not have been communicated to the folks that do payroll.

If that doesn't fix it, I'd take this up in a low key way with your supervisor.
posted by bearwife at 4:18 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Many companies do not pay for statutory holidays unless you were employed at the company on the regularly scheduled day both before and after the statutory holiday.

So, by all means ask the person who said you would be paid about it to make sure it's not an error. But if the answer that comes back from officialdom is 'no, that's our policy' don't push too hard -- because that is a normal practice.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:24 PM on January 23, 2017 [9 favorites]

I'm not sure I'm heard of anything more asinine than giving someone holiday pay before they've even started work, BUT! If they were foolish enough to promise you this, they owe it to you!
posted by pecanpies at 4:33 PM on January 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Definitely ask. But FYI in my husband's line of work you only get paid for a holiday if you worked the previous (work) day and the following (work) day.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:37 PM on January 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I disagree, I would not bring this up. If you're ever owed a single dollar in the future, absolutely bring it up. But seriously? Your first day on a holiday seems like mistake that was made with scheduling, not processing payroll.
posted by so fucking future at 4:56 PM on January 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Another Payroll person here, just ask. I work in a company of just 35 folks, but often things that are promised to new hires are not communicated to me by the time I'm processing payroll. Just ask nicely, it's no big deal.
posted by sarajane at 4:58 PM on January 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

It's entirely possible the person that made you the offer (unwittingly) promised you something against company policy. The majority of the places I've worked would not pay out a holiday if it was your first or last day of employment, regardless of what your manager said.

Would you be willing to accept an extra day of unofficial PTO instead? That's one way my managers have worked around problems with inflexible HR rules in the past.
posted by Candleman at 5:14 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Definitely ask payroll or hr. I field these sorts of questions at work and it's usually something funky in Kronos or whatever system they use or its some crap that was mistakenly not manually set, or its some thing because of some policy that I can give documentation for, but in any case its a routine question and not an indication of a pain in the bunghole employee.
posted by WeekendJen at 6:37 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks, everyone! I emailed her this morning and it turns out that I am owed holiday pay for the 2nd, and they will add that to my next paycheck. Thanks for encouraging me to ask!
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:54 AM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

HR Person here - If HR/Recruiting/Payroll or your manager told you you would be paid for the 2nd then you should be paid for the 2nd. If it is actually against policy then that person needs to learn the policy but they were acting as the company at the time which means the company made a promise and it should uphold it either through pay or at the very least through comp time off. You should not be punished for another's mistake like that. Your choice how hard you want to push but to me this would actually be a pretty big red flag around how they treat their people.

If random co-worker told you you would be paid for it then that may or may not be true.

It is entirely possible that it is an honest mistake too. Payroll people don't always see the offer letter so someone could have easily entered your first day as the first day in the office rather than the agreed first day of employment.

You should also check if this affects your benefits. If benefits start day one then you should check those actually started on the 2nd and not the 3rd as well.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:27 AM on January 24, 2017

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