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The sсribing company I work for currently pays me minimum wage at $14.69. I have been working for them since July of 2021. A few days ago, I was training another sсriber who was transitioning into the department I am currently working at and he informed me that he gets paid $16+ an hour. I have been working as a sсribe longer than he has, as he started in February of 2022. He does the exact same things as I do. I feel very cheated right now. What should I do? Can someone please suggest advice or an email template I can write to HR or management to remediate this gap?

Signed, Upset Scriber

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    Does your company have a policy stating everyone must be paid the same?
    – solarflare
    Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 4:26
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    It's not in any way clear that you are being cheated. You agreed to work for $14.69/hour and nothing in your posting indicates that you are not being paid the agreed-upon rate. If you believe you are underpaid then make a case to your management that you are worth more than that. But "he makes $16/hr." is not a good case. If you don't get what you want, then find another job that does pay better. None there? Then you are making what you are worth.
    – jwh20
    Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 12:00
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    The problem is purely in your attitude. You could also choose to be happy for your new colleague for his good wage.
    – simon
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 12:46
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    Does this answer your question? How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid?
    – mustaccio
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 13:40
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    @Steve of course, but my point is that simply saying "I deserve more money" is very unlikely to get any traction. As is always the case, it's a value proposition. You present a case that you are worth more than what you are currently being paid.
    – jwh20
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 14:36

7 Answers 7

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If you want to stay with the company, contact your manager and request a raise. During the conversation with your manager:

  • Do NOT mention other people's salary.
  • Do NOT be adversarial towards your manager.
  • DO mention all the positives you bring to the company (e.g. experience, skills, positive reviews)

However, you should be aware that your company is not "cheating" you. Different employees are often paid different amounts based on negotiation or other factors during recruitment.

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    the biggest factor being when they were hired. If you're hired later, you'll almost always get paid better than someone at the same level as you who was hired several years prior. To hire new employees they have to have a competitive pay with other industries at that time. To retain employees, they just need to provide enough that people aren't incentivized to go through the hoops of jumping ship. Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 17:34
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  1. If you're thinking that this is unfair, don't. There is no concept of fair.

  2. Every employee negotiates their own wages unless there are laws dictating your wages or you're a union member whose union negotiates your wages based on a legally binding contract between the union and your employer. Go negotiate for what you think is appropriate. Have a conversation with your manager. Tell them why you think you deserve higher pay. Give them examples and valid reasons.

  3. They're not cheating you. They're paying you the hourly wage that you negotiated and/or accepted when they offered you the job. Cheating you would be paying you less than what you negotiated and/or accepted.

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    No there is a concept of "fair" and this is unfair. It's just not illegal. The company is paying the OP a low wage because they can get away with it. It's only "fair" if you subscribe to the ultra-capitalist libertarian view that "anything is fair if the person agrees to it". Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 16:43
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    Whether you or I like it or not, the world is run by ultra-capitalists. I work within those constraints and navigate my career accordingly. There is no concept of fair. Each person negotiates their own wages. None of us here are going to change the way things are any time in the near future.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 17:11
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    That's a myth spread by ultra-capitalists (also called psychopaths). Almost everybody believes in the concept of "fair". Some people like to pretend there is no concept of "fair" for their own gain, but it's still a real thing. Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 17:36
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    @DJClayworth: If you instead advocate for standardized wages, I put it to you that this is still unfair, just a different kind of unfair. Hypothetically, I work faster and with higher quality than my coworker, I even have to help him get his work done, yet I am now paid the same as him? How it that fair? This is the issue at hand. We call it unfair when we're the ones making the lower salary of the two - but that doesn't mean that the difference in salary is not justifiable. In justifiable cases (e.g. work quality), the difference is salary may be an honest reflection of that.
    – Flater
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 1:58
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    @Flater that's not what Clayworth was advocating for. Actually, Clayworth hasn't advocated "for" anything yet, they only advocated against negotiation based pay level. If OP is in the US, "negotiation based" is likely their current reality, but we can acknowledge that and acknowledge that it's a particularly bad system.
    – Clumsy cat
    Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 12:53
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Are they Cheating you? Not in a technical sense. In a moral sense, absolutely, but not in a technical sense.

First things first: You are always able, within a company, to negotiate a pay rise. Now, the company is under no obligation to humour your negotiations, but then you are under no obligation to continue your employment. If you haven't negotiated for a raise after a year of employment (especially given the recent inflation) - that's on you.

Next: A New joiner is equally able to negotiate their starting rate at the time of accepting the offer. This is usually the easiest time to get a good rate as the company has a distinct need they are trying to fill and you have yet to accept the offer. Some general advice that is often thrown about the Internet is to change jobs every 2-3 years to leverage this phenomenon into the largest salary you can get.

In addition, the new joiner may or may not have additional skills or experience that the Employer might place a premium on - such as knowing a second language or prior work experience or may simply just be better at negotiating than you. That's life, unless you are the undisputed best in the world, there's always someone better than you and even then, it's just a matter of time.

Now, I'll grant you that this situation does suck, at one company I worked at, I started as a new hire and had negotiated myself a very good rate (I had multiple offers at the time and played them against each other) - so I was in the position of your co-worker, I was payed quite a bit more than my colleagues - should the Company have increased their salaries with reference to their years of experience? Probably - but they didn't. Eventually, those staff left (see above, your ultimate bargaining chip).

To address your actual question: How to ask for a Pay Rise:

Firstly you want to make a Business case to them - what value do you provide to them? Not just your assigned duties, but what additional value do you provide? I'm not familiar with your field of work per se - but things like "My typo rate is the lowest in the team, leading to a superior work product" or "I'm consistently in the top N performers on the team".

Next, you want to make a pragmatic case to them "I've been for a year, I feel that my initial rate was reflective of a new starter with no experience, but now the output I'm providing owing to my experience justifies an adjustment in salary" - if your business case is weak (you aren't a top performer or you have no additional responsibilities), then here is where you can add some weight to your argument - talk around the issue, perhaps bring up the high inflation rate of the last year, or if you know your company did particularly well the last financial year.

Finally, you want to set out some expectations:

"Based on my performance in the team and my experience with the company, I think $X is a reasonable hourly rate for me" - with X being about 10-20% more than what you want to get, that way when the company negotiates you down (which is a very usual occurence), you can then counter with the rate you actually want and get it.

And then if they hear all that and tell you to pound sand or offer you something much smaller, that is when you consider looking for other employment and then the next discussion is you handing in your notice, because remember point 2 - the optimal time to negotiate a salary is when you are accepting a new job offer.

Good luck.

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    Careful with your use of "morals" here. You are assuming that the OP is assessing their own performance correctly, which is questionable. I found that there is almost an inverse relationship between how good people "think" they are as compared how good they "actually" are. I had people with with severe performance issues (which had been CLEARLY communicated to them) show up in my office demanding a raise because they thought there were awesome (which they really weren't). I also had great performers that were scared of being fired (no matter what I told them).
    – Hilmar
    Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 12:46
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    Please do not assume that I am assessing my performance in an overly positive manner. This statement is ridiculous that my personal evaluation is "questionable". This is a company that pays sсribes who have been working for 5+ years, minimum wage regardless.
    – Daniel T
    Commented Nov 25, 2022 at 5:44
  • "Morality" is subjective. It should never be the basis for judging others, only for judging yourself. The new hire's wages are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the relationship between the poster and the employer. If it is time to renegotiate, so be it, but don't believe the new hire's wages have any bearing on that. Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 21:47
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Happened to me once. I was very, very annoyed. Left the company and got a much better paying job.

Go to your manager and tell them that you should be paid more. Don’t tell them that you know the other guys salary. Then look at their reaction. You may get paid more, good. You may be told that you are paid what you are worth; you decide if that is true or a lame excuse. Or you may be told that the company doesn’t have the money to pay you more. Than you know it is a lame excuse.

Unfortunately it happens that swapping jobs is often the only way to get a raise. If you think that’s the case then look for other, better paying jobs. Don’t tell anyone, but sign a legally binding contract, and then you give notice.

You may get a counter offer. Taking it is rarely a good idea.

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  • "Taking it is rarely a good idea." Agree 100%. The company now views you as a flight risk.
    – SWalters
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 16:20
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Why dont you ask for a raise? If you get something then good. If you get nothing then you must be prepared to leave. If you dont leave you will never get payed more, if you leave you can start at a low wage and wait and see. In other words you might get a rise.

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Unlike most answers and comments I disagree with the idea that you can't ask for a raise with the the argument that someone else doing the same job (or is even junior to you) gets more. I think it's a perfect valid argument.

To elaborate a bit further about the topic of asking for a raise. Many people seem to have the the idea

The only valid/fair/moral argument for a salary negotiation is the value you bring to the company

I think this utter bs. If you agree to this statement you already playing the game on their terms. If you can make a good argument for a raise because of comparison to other co-workers/inflation/etc you should do so.

Apart from the arguments above, if the the coworker in question happens to be of a different gender, ethnicity and/or religion your company might be in legal hot water for paying you less than him/her.

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Remember that depending on who's available, the company may have to offer a higher wage than usual in order to recruit new employees, effectively as a hiring bonus. That's just the way swings in the job market happen to work.

In some companies, your starting wage does shift the scale for the rest of your career. But in others, after a few years the employee's salary drifts back into alignment with everyone else's, by adjusting how large and how frequent their promotions/raises are. Unless you know which approach your company takes, don't assume the new hire is getting that much better a deal than you are.

And realistically, your proper response to this is to demonstrate to management that you should get a raise, rather than to grumble that someone else happens to have made a different deal. Shift your attitude to focus on what you can actually change, rather than being put out about things you can't.

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