Always Look At Your Pay Stub

Photo: Olga Sergienko, Unsplash

In this convenient era of direct deposit, do you look at your pay stub each time payday rolls around? Are you confident that the hours you worked are what you’re actually getting paid for?

Reddit user TheCabin7Gryffindor posted this tip recently: “If you work hourly, don’t trust your employer to keep track of your hours on their own. Keep track of how many hours you work each pay period to make sure that you’re getting paid for the hours you work.”

Tons of people chimed in, recalling experiences where their supervisor rounded their breaks up and their hours worked down; where supervisors would guess their hours when running payroll instead of verifying it; and instances where their paycheck just didn’t match the hours they had logged.

That’s where keeping your own time log is essential for making sure you get the pay you earned. Digital time tracking systems can fail, hand-logging isn’t foolproof (fix your handwriting), and unfortunately, not every boss is as scrupulous as you’d hope.

Best case scenario: A discrepancy between your own log and what’s on your paycheck is a simple mistake, quickly remedied.

Worst case scenario: You work in actual hell, where time sheets are purposely fudged by terrible bosses. (You think I’m kidding? This story about senior care workers will have you rushing to check your latest pay stub.)

And so, we have two tiny hacks rolled into one very important reminder.

First, don’t count on your employer’s time tracking system to correctly record your hours worked every time. Keep your own log that you can easily reference if needed. Keep that log on a home computer or a notebook you keep at home so you can be more confident your log won’t be tampered with.

Second — and this goes for salaried workers, too — don’t just glance over your digital or physical pay stub on payday as you look for that magic number (your take-home pay, obviously). Check your hours worked, deductions for taxes and benefits, and other notations like accrued annual leave. The more you’re familiar with that’s normal on your paycheck, the better you’ll be equipped to call out discrepancies if they pop up.

If you suspect you've been underpaid and your boss won't fix it, the Fair Work Ombudsman can provide assistance. Click here for the steps you need to take.


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