When I was hired at my job, I asked for $21 an hour. My boss said, "I will give you $19 an hour for the first 90 days, and if things go well, I will bump you up to $21 an hour." I agreed.

Since that time, I had a no-call, no-show absence due to confusion when trading shifts with a coworker. I also have 5 (minor) tardies coming back from lunch. I feel like I work harder than others at my new job and deserve some increase in pay, even with my attendance issues.

Do you think it would be smart to calculate my total hours lost to attendance and ask my boss for a raise based off of a percentage of my attendance?
So if,in 90 days, I've worked 720 total hours, and missed 8 hours (absent) and 5 tardies (10 min X 5 days = 50 minutes) That would mean I've worked about 711 total hours. It seems like I should be able to figure out a percentage cut of time that I have missed equivalent to the percentage of time missed. How would i calculate this?

I also imagine my boss will make an incalculable argument for "problems stemming from time missed." Could I argue for a percentage off the total days? How would I calculate this and present it to my boss in an appropriate way?

  • @joeqwerty please don’t leave answers in the comments. They lack the quality control measures of answers.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 21:25
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    What type of job is it? How crucial is your attendance? Does the store not open when you're late? Is someone else forced to delay their lunch of their bathroom break because of your late arrival? Do you work late on the days that you arrive late? Is this a full time position? How much time do you take for your lunch? How much time do you take for your breaks? How do you add value to your employer? Do you earn them/save them money? How do you compare to your other coworkers? Or to your former employees that were doing your job before you? How easy would it be for you to find another job at $21? Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 23:11
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    In 90 days you have been late back from lunch by approx 10min 5 times. Have these incidents been spread across the entire 90 days or did they all happen early on and you have 30/40 + days work without issue? Have you been spoken to by your manager regarding the tardiness or is this just that YOU know you were late back but it has not been commented on by others.
    – EdHunter
    Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 8:36
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    Keep in mind that productivity is a subjective value, so what you feel like is great work, might not be for him. This is unfair but from my experience, management likes to "bet" employees will accept less money by providing lame excuses, moreover delaying raises is still a gain for them.
    – Cris
    Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 13:36
  • 1
    This is country specific. In France, things are quite different Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 5:53

7 Answers 7


I just want to elaborate on the other answer.

Salary is not a reward for effort.

Your boss was willing to pay you $19, until he was sure you were worth $21.

If you are punctual, and do an extreme amount of hours, that doesn't mean you should automatically qualify for the extra $2. Conversely, if you are late a few times, and do the bare minimum of effort, that doesn't mean $2 is off the table.

What it boils down to is a calculation that a boss has to do. Are you worth paying as a $21 employee? Is the value you bring to the table the same as others that are paid $21? Will past performances be indicative of future performance?

I would avoid bringing up any instances of tardy behaviour, unless you have a track record where you have improved on your behaviour, or unless you know your employer thinks it's a big issue, and you believe they are looking for resolution.

And in any case, your mathematics doesn't make sense. The world doesn't operate like that. If an employer needs an employee to work certain hours, any impact to the business is not likely to be calculatable as a percentage of your salary.

Instead, you need to show that you are meeting or exceeding their expectations. Hopefully they set these out for you.

  • 3
    Regarding the maths: it's not the $3-ish (i.e. 19÷60×10) that you've been “over” paid while you were in lunch break that matter a lot indeed. It's rather whether the fact you were late made/risked the business miss a $10k sale of not.
    – ebosi
    Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 14:01
  • Thank you for the reply, this is very helpful. I do think that I will follow up and ask him how I could meet or exceed their expectations, as I don't think he laid that out clearly.--- I will hopefully keep everyone updated.
    – Noah
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 4:28

Your raise appears to have a condition:

I will give you $19 an hour for the first 90 days, and if things go well, I will bump you up to $21 an hour.

Without additional context, "if things go well" can be interpreted as "if you are doing good work", when everything you are doing for your employer is taken into account. To prepare for the raise conversation I would suggest you ask yourself whether your boss, if asked about you, would say that you are doing good work.

You seem to be less than 100% sure as to whether you stand with your employer. The best way to fix this in well-run companies is to ask your boss. You could say:

Hey boss, when I joined this company you said you'd bump my hourly rate to $21/hour after 90 days. Am I meeting your expectations in my role and if not, what should I be doing differently?

You do not need to call out any of the issues you might perceive. Let your boss tell you what they think is relevant.

As another answer said, you do not need to worry about compensating the company for your absence or talk about a lower rate.


Ask for the raise which your boss has already agreed to pay.

Do you think it would be smart to calculate my total hours lost to attendance and ask my boss for a raise based my raise off of a percentage of my attendance that I present?

No. This would be unusual and foolish.

You are confusing two different things:

  1. Your pay - the value of the work you do
  2. Your absences - work you've agreed to do but not done

It seems very likely that you are worth more to your employer now that you have 3 months experience. Thus a raise to $21 is not unjustified, especially as this raise was agreed in advance.

On the other hand absences are bad. They shouldn't affect pay but are likely to affect your ability to get a promotion and may even lead to job loss. You need to think carefully about why they happened and how you can avoid them.

  • 14
    The raise was conditional on things going well, and yet OP has multiple times came in late from lunch and had one no-show, no-call. I am not sure that it's a gauranteed raise with that.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 10:22
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    Sure. However, it is a good start point for the conversation.... whereas presenting the employer with a weird calculation is not. Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 12:02
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    The one absence wouldn't bother me as a manager, provided it was truly a mix-up and didn't recur. The multiple tardies are, potentially, a different matter. For some jobs, coming back 5 or 10 minutes late from lunch wouldn't even be noticed. For others, it's a pretty big deal and OP needs to address it
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 13:44

Do you think it would be smart to calculate my total hours lost to attendance and ask my boss for a raise...?

NO- by your own admission you have been absent without even calling in and have 5 tardies, all in a 90 day span.

I do not know how long you have been in the general workforce or how many employers you have had, but I think you need a better understanding of how important reliability is to an employer.

In my experience, employers (I am sure there are exceptions) would actually prefer a super-reliable yet mediocre performer compared to a "super star" performer who doesn't show up when needed/expected. If I was your supervisor you would already be on an attendance improvement plan (read "one more tardy in ..x.. amount of time and you will be fired").

You should inquire about a raise, respectfully and honestly. At that point, your employer (who must weigh your value i.e. productivity, against your reliability i.e lack thereof) will have the opportunity to explain why you will get it or why you won't. Expectations moving forward should be clearly explained during this "performance review", and if they are not you should ask for them.

  • If a "super star performer" can do considerably better work, considerably more work, or works later to make up for the missed start time, I'd definitely prefer them to someone who runs their life by the clock. Especially if they are only mediocre. In many place I've worked, being punctual isn't really all that useful when compared to the actual work done. Looking at only a clock to determine performance is a "lowest common denominator" metric, and nearly worthless when timeliness isn't required for the tasks the employee does. Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 17:59
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    Yes, situations where "timeliness isn't required" would likely be one of the exceptions that I mentioned; however, in most businesses attendance/punctuality are part of your performance and you would not be considered a "super star" if that part of your performance was lacking. Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 20:54
  • Most of the places where punctuality is a requirement, it's a false requirement. Unless you're in a service industry and need to relieve another worker, or have an actual schedule to be places at specific times, it's not really essential to a job to be punctual. Does the average "paper pusher" office worker really have to be at their desk promptly at 8am to do their job? No. Does a printer tech need to be at a remote location to fix a printer at a specific time? Probably. Does a nurse need to be ready to take over for another shift at a specific time? Yes. Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 21:24
  • Someone who I'd call a "super star" would do work that doesn't need to be corrected, does significantly more than an average employee, and/or helps others to do better. This makes things like punctuality a non-issue, since their very good aspects outweighs a nitpick of "what hours the work was done during". Employers are getting the idea that working "non-standard hours" are beneficial to some employees and help them be more productive, so holding them to strict "hours of operation" is counter-productive. Employers aren't babysitters, and adults shouldn't need micromanagers to do their work. Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 21:36
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    @JimmyFix-it Yes, but "missed a meeting" is a completely different level than "came ten minutes late from lunch". The former is a big deal in almost any industry and I don't think anyone has suggested otherwise. I can't imagine anyone doing it five times in three months without getting fired or severely reprimanded.
    – TooTea
    Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 9:12

Ultimately, your wage negotiation is just that: a negotiation. What power do you have? The power to withhold your labor, by leaving the company (either for a new job, or just leaving period).

This doesn't have to be an adversarial, "give me a raise or I quit" type of thing; but asking for more money does work a lot better when you know you can get that $21 an hour somewhere else.

Why do you think you should be paid that? Are you sitting on another job offer? Is that what you made before? Are other people paid that who you think you're just as good as? In any of those cases, use that as your argument.

Otherwise, you may need to accumulate more evidence before going back. Show them reasons why you should be paid it - not, "I think I should make it", but that other people doing similar jobs at similar quality are making that much; or that you have other job offers available where you'd make that.

And it might truly come to that, of course - you might need to leave to make more. But before you go there, try the route of finding out what you could make elsewhere and pointing that out to them - easier to win the argument when you're nice about it, usually.


Discuss the salary without mentioning this at all at first. See if you get the 21$ anyway. If your boss mentions the tardiness as a reason for not giving you the raise. If so then ask for a new chance to improve yourself regarding tardiness and a new timeframe, like no tardiness for 50 days and your boss will see that you are willing to improve and set goals that you can achieve.


thank you everyone for the great feedback. I wanted to keep everyone updated, I received a $0.75 raise. It is not the $2.00 raise I wanted, but I am happy. ..I admittedly had attendance issues, and I can learn a bit more about problem solving on the job., $0.75 feels fair, and I think I can fix attendance issues for my 1 year review. Thanks everyone

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