I recently took a new job and accepted the pay at an annual rate. When I got my first pay check I saw that I was being paid hourly. The problem is that if you multiply my hourly wage by 40 * 52 or use the 2087 average for hours in a work year my pay comes up 1.5% short of the agreed upon amount for a year. Is there another calculation that is legitimate that gives them this hourly wage or are they just shaving the salary?

  • I'll leave this as a comment but I've seen some use a 53-week year. Given that 52/53 is roughly 98.1% that would make a 1.9% difference. Not sure if this is the reason why you see the difference you are seeing here. You should probably just ask HR straight up.
    – ApplePie
    Dec 15, 2017 at 2:22
  • ApplePie brings up a great point. Each company/payroll system might handle the 53 week scenario differently. Some adjust their rate, others leave it as is. This also changes depending on if you're being paid bi-weekly.or semi-monthly(?)
    – Shorlan
    Dec 15, 2017 at 2:32
  • 1
    Why would there be a 53 week scenario? There are never 53 weeks in a year. Dec 15, 2017 at 3:52
  • 2
    @CuriousEMP2727 52 * 7 == 364 days, which is short of a full year. It's not that there are 53 weeks in a year, but that a year spans 53 distinct weeks. One paycheck a year will contain money earned in two different years.
    – chepner
    Dec 15, 2017 at 3:58
  • So they round up from one day to short a week? Won’t the effect be I’m earning less annually than what was offered? Dec 15, 2017 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


First, double check that you aren't reading it wrong. Ensure that the number you are pulling is based off of the pre-tax hourly rate (usually this is on the leftmost side before any deductions are calculated out.

Next, look over the employment contract that you signed when you first started working there. Ensure the offered salary is the amount you expected and that there were no stipulations for additional deductions for other things.

If everything looks correct, bring all these things over to payroll and ask them to correct it. To be perfectly fair, mistakes happen ALL THE TIME in payroll / Human Resources. You would think this is something that is easily automated out, and it should be, but it's not, and simple mistakes happen all the time.

They should not only correct the rate, but also pay you back for any missed wages within the next paycheck or 2 (You can help them by calculating how much pre-tax you are still due).

Then triple check the next check to ensure the rate is correct, and that you are also given the missing amount owed to you.... not to be cynical, but they will probably mess up one entry or the other in the correction as well. Just keep patiently returning to them with the new correction every time until all accounts are settled.

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