Ask HR: My boss is paying me less than the amount promised

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What you need to know:

  • Before you raise any issue, compare what had been promised and what has been paid.


  • You say you have worked for over a month, but remember that in this kind of agreement, your salary will only relate for the calendar month that is ending.


  • Any salaries due for the bit you call “over a month” spill in to the coming month and would be payable at the end.

I just got a new job where I have worked for over a month. My boss paid me a sum less than what we had agreed. How do I go about asking for the balance? Or is this a red flag for the future and I should find a way of exiting?

Congratulation on securing a new job in a season marred with high levels on unemployment. I am sure you made serious considerations before switching to this role. I will answer based on two scenarios. My first assumption is that you have signed a contract which states all benefits payable to you on this appointment. Such would include applicable statutory deductions and effective date of starting work, which translates to the first day your salary would be applied. Before you raise any issue, compare what had been promised and what has been paid. You say you have worked for over a month, but remember that in this kind of agreement, your salary will only relate for the calendar month that is ending. 

Any salaries due for the bit you call “over a month” spill in to the coming month and would be payable at the end. In that case, you have not lost any income as it is spread over two months, and the balance will be payable as per your contract of employment. The other thing to note is that most employers offer gross salary, which means that statutory deductions namely PAYE, NHIF, NSSF would be deducted before the final salary is paid. This may have affected your net salary, so be sure to confirm the right status before you seek further answers. Lastly, every payment is accompanied by a pay slip which itemises your income plus all deductions. If there is any discrepancy, you should raise this with your manager.

The second scenario would arise if you are earning a daily wage. In that case if the salary paid is less than the days worked or different from the actual daily rate due to your category of work, it is fair to ask when the balance would be paid. If you have more questions, look for an appropriate time to speak to your your boss. And if your query is dismissed, check with your colleagues if underpayment is a norm in that company, then proceed to raise a grievance as a group to have this corrected. Running away from a problem is not always a solution. Stay and make things right, and only leave after you have tried.

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