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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

compensation for extra responsibilities?

A reader writes:

Please tell me about options an employee has to get compensated appropriately when (temporarily) taking on the responsibilities of a coworker’s job while they are out on disability. In the past, when I took over the responsibilities of a manager at my workplace for four months, I was given a one-time bonus check which was in no way an adequate compensation for the extra work I did during that time. (Needless to say, I was expected to keep up with my regular assignments as well.)

Now I am faced with the same issue. I do not want a bonus check this time. I’ve heard of a “temporary job upgrade.” Please tell me about that.

Well, you can always ask for more money ... but I think it's tricky to do in situations like this. Your boss might legitimately feel that pitching in to take on extra responsibilities when circumstances require it is part of what she expects from the person in your role and that your current compensation covers you doing that on occasion.

If you do choose to ask for more money, I think a much better way of looking at this is as part of your performance overall -- not as a tit for tat tied to this particular situation, since otherwise you risk it coming across as petty or not a team player, etc. Ideally, I'd much rather see you incorporate this into your next discussion of an annual raise, if even that's a ways off: At whatever point you're due for your next raise, you can use this to point out that part of your value as an employee is that you're able and willing to step into other people's shoes when needed.

9 comments:

HR Wench said...

AAM - Not only do you consistently give good advice, you do so in a manner that doesn't make the asker feel like an a-hole. How DO you do it?!

Ask a Manager said...

I'm relieved to hear that -- I've been worried I've been cranky and scaring everyone away recently!

Lynn said...

My only comment is that it depends on how different the job the poster is being asked to do is from their usual job. The poster uses the words "co-worker" and "manager" in their description of the issue and I'm not sure if there is a difference.

At my current place of work, we are currently two people short and none of my co-workers (nor I) begrudge having to pick up the slack of the two "missing" positions because everyone does a similar level of work and our salaries are roughly similar.

However, a while back our unit did not have a manager. This was a different animal because none of us usually supervise people or handle multiple budget lines (and the pay scale is quite a bit different as well). When my colleague was asked to step in for a while, he was given an upgraded position that paid more and had better benefits while he did the additional duties. None of us would have been willing to take on this much bigger role without such a consideration - and I had a similar thing happen to me several years ago in a completely different country.

Anonymous said...

I most certainly am not an a**hole! I'm certainly glad you're not in my HR department! Of course, you could be and I would not know, so I suppose I should say that I HOPE you're not one of my HR folks!

Signed, "The Asker"

Ask a Manager said...

I don't think HR Wench was calling you that!

HR Wench said...

No, I wasn't. But thanks for the laugh!

Cocaboo said...

If you're taking on additional abilities, I would not normally see this as something that would require immediate pay adjustment. AAM is pretty much dead on - picking up someone's slack, or a hole in the department, is just part of a salaried job. It should be up to you to figure out how to do those extra tasks without working an additional 20 hours a week... amazingly, no matter how much work I take on, I can still figure out how to boil things down into a manageable work week.

Anonymous said...

I just recently found these blogs and found them very informitive. What disturbs me is it seems that if your company choses to do something that is ethically wrong but not legally wrong as a worker your only recourse seems to be to leave the company. I hired on to my current company as a helpdesk analyst because of the slow economy, this is way below my skill level but one must do what one must to care for your family. I have worked hard to showcase my ablilities. The company is deep in politic being played. I have had management demand I take on multiple jobs that are many grade levels outside my responsiblity, which normal is a good thing. The caveot is I've also been told I will never be promoted off the helpdesk my only option is to leave. I'm expected to continue doing my hired job responsiblities and the responsiblities of 3 other jobs. I have attempted to talk to management which has just made things worse. It is a shame that after much research my only option is leaving this company.

Anonymous said...

At whatever point you're due for your next raise, you can use this to point out that part of your value as an employee is that you're able and willing to step into other people's shoes when needed.

This is exactly the answer to a dilemma I'm facing right now. My coworker went on maternity and her responsibilities were spread around the 6-person department, but I took on 80% of the work. I will be going in for my yearly review in a few weeks, and plan on asking for a raise. I'm severely underpaid (as are most entry-level employees in the publishing industry, a fact I accept to a certain degree) and am up for a promotion. A number has been tossed out to me in passing but nothing has been discussed formally. Neither have we discussed how my performance will be graded with my new responsibilities.

A 6K raise is nothing to laugh about, but considering the fact that my salary is less than 30K before taxes, the raise will barely cover my expenses. I've been "lucky" to have saved enough money prior to starting at this company to make up for the lack of money I'm earning. Granted, being that this was my first FT job, I was not the best at negotiating the salary (Although what I'm earning is supposedly the high end of the range one receives in an entry-level position at the company. I know my former coworker was earning the same as I am now). I've learned my lesson.

Along with the cost of living, my level of education (and the loans!), I will add this as another reason why I should get a higher raise. Hopefully my request will be met positively.

(I hate to leave anonymous comments but in this case, I'd rather not risk having my employer/coworkers google me and find this at the top of their search list. Paranoid much? Most definitely!)