In a day where the price of basic necessities like gas and groceries are through the roof, you may find yourself more reliant on your paycheck than ever before. According to a recent report over 50% of the population now lives paycheck to paycheck due to inflation. The question is, do you know how much you’re bringing in? In this case, we’re not referring to your budget, we’re actually asking if you know the amount that will be deposited into your account from the hours you worked the previous week (or week’s if you are paid bi-weekly). You should be able to estimate your weekly paycheck, plus or minus a few dollars. Read below for how to do so, and why this is so important.

If you are paid an hourly wage, this is most important for you as your weekly paycheck could easily fluctuate depending on your hours worked. If you have a set schedule, how many hours does your schedule total? Let’s say you work 8-4. That is an 8-hour day, and NYS law says that if you work 8 hours, you are provided with a 30-minute lunch break. If you work Monday to Friday, 8-4, with a 30-minute lunch break each day, your weekly total comes to 37.5 hours. From that, you should have a good idea of what your paycheck will be, considering taxes, etc. Now, let’s say, with The Great Resignation upon us, you are accumulating a heavier workload and your manager asks you to stay an extra hour or two throughout the week. Though this is technically hours you are working OVER your scheduled time, NYS Law also says that you are paid at your regular hourly rate until you are over 40 hours. Meaning that you would have to work more than 2.5 extra hours to receive time and a half pay. So, if you were thinking great! I’ll stay an hour late, and get some overtime, you’re incorrect. Now let’s say you put in an extra hour each day, now you would have worked a weekly total of 42.5 hours, meaning you will get your regular pay rate for 40 hours plus time and a half for 2.5 hours. Remember to look at your overall weekly total rather than day by day.

How is your work time recorded? Do you complete a timesheet by hand, or do you clock in and out through a computerized system? If you complete your weekly timesheet by hand, we recommend doing it day-by-day to ensure accuracy. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is on Monday to recall the hours you worked just one week prior, so to refrain from mistakes being made record your time each day. If you are punching in and out on a computer, it is important to be extremely diligent with your punches. Punch in when you are ready to go to work. If you show up to work 30  minutes early, that’s great, but refrain from punching in early if you do not intend to actually start working until your designated work time. That being said, if you are ready and willing to start, make sure to get the ok from your manager prior to punching in early as companies have budgets too and if this will cause you to receive overtime pay it may not be suggested. Be sure to accurately punch in and out from your lunches and don’t forget to punch out when you are done for the day. Seems silly to say, but it happens often and then your payroll person is forced to track you down or assume when you left for the day which may not always be accurate.

Now, let’s say you are a salaried employee. You can expect an identical paycheck each week. Awesome, now you can sit back and relax because there’s no reason your paycheck should get messed up, right? Wrong. Regardless of if you are paid a salary or hourly you should still check your direct deposit (if that’s how you are paid) weekly or bi-weekly to ensure the correct amount is deposited. A recent study showed that a quarter of all workers have had paycheck errors. Surprise, the person doing your payroll is human, they make mistakes too. It is unreasonable to think they will have perfect accuracy every single time, and it is up to you to let them know if an error was made. Keep in mind that this error was not made intentionally so there is no need to cause a fuss. Simply go to them letting them know you believe an error may have been made which I can guarantee is enough to get their undivided attention and have the problem corrected ASAP.

If you feel your paycheck is continuously showing errors and you would like to look for a new opportunity, or if you feel you need to replace your current payroll employee with someone more diligent, give us a call at (518) 275-4816 where we are happy to help find your perfect fit.