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Getting Paid

There are many ways to get paid for a job. For most jobs

you will be paid by a paycheck with a Pay Statement. This can

either be a paper check that you have to take to the bank to

cash, or it can be Direct Deposited into your bank account.



Employees are paid a set amount (wage) per hour of work.

Advantage: You are paid for each hour that you work, there is a potential for overtime.

Disadvantage: If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

Typical Hourly jobs: Most jobs are hourly.

PA Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage in the United States



For their wages, employees receive a percent of the goods that they sell. Sometimes employees may have a lower hourly rate in addition to earning a commission.

Advantage: If you are good at sales, you can make a lot of money.

Disadvantage: Very unreliable, if you don’t sell anything, you don’t make money, it is hard work.

Typical Commission jobs: Real estate agent, car salesperson, phones, some shoe stores. Waiting on tables is a type of commission work, but the percent is set by the customer, not the employer.

Standard Sales Commission Rates


Contract Salary

Employees sign a contract for an agreed upon yearly salary (or hourly wage) for agreed upon terms that may include benefits like insurance and sick days.

Advantage: Very reliable pay, you know exactly how much you will make each week.

Disadvantage: Possibly working more than 40 hours a week, have to do what the contract says.

Typical Contract Salary jobs: Teachers, Doctor, Engineer, Nurse,  and many more.



Per Diem

Short term, usually temporary employment where the person is paid by the day.

Advantage: None really.

Disadvantage: Usually short term or temporary work.

Typical Per Diem jobs: Substitute Teacher, Nurse.



Piece Work

Employees are for each piece of work they complete.

Advantage: The more pieces you finish, the more you make.

Disadvantage: The fewer pieces you finish, the less you make.

Typical piece work jobs: Artwork, crafts.



Under the Table

Employees are paid cash, neither the employer or employee pays taxes. It is illegal to work “under the table.”

Advantage: Quick cash in your pocket.

Disadvantages: You – and the employer – are breaking the law. If you are injured, the employer will not help you pay for your injuries.  If you lose your job, you cannot collect unemployment because technically, you never had a job.

You can be paid cash for a job, but make sure the appropriate taxes have been paid.

Understanding Your Pay Statement

Whether you are paid by check or by direct deposit, your

employer must provide your with a pay statement that

summarizes your wages and deductions.


Gross Wages:  The amount of your paycheck before

deductions are taken out.


Net Wages: The amount of pay you take home after

deductions are taken out of your paycheck.


Overtime Wages: If you work over 40 hours a week and

you are being paid hourly, you may receive Overtime Wages.

The standard rate for overtime is time and a half per hour. 


Deductions: Money deducted from your paycheck every payday; they can be voluntary or involuntary.


Voluntary Deductions:  These deductions refer to specific company benefits that employees can typically accept or reject. Examples include Health Insurance, Dental Insurance, Life Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Retirement accounts/401K accounts, Union Dues.


YTD: Stands for Year to Date – how much money you have made so far this year.


Wage Garnishment: A legal document that that orders an employer to withhold money from an employee’s paychecks to satisfy a debt or judgment such as child support or collections.

What is a 401k Plan and Why Do I Need One?

You probably think that you're too young to start saving for your retirement, but

it is never too early to start saving. Check out this explanation of 401k Plans:

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