82 Million Americans Have Faced Payroll Problems

March 30, 2017, Written By John H. Oldshue

Half of America’s work force, or 82 million people, have faced an issue with their paycheck at some point in their career, according to recent research from The Workforce Institute and Kronos Incorporated. In fact, more than half (54%) of Americans have been paid too little, late or not at all.

The “Engaging Employees through Payroll,” which surveyed more than 1,000 Americans, discovered that salaried, hourly and freelance workers face different payroll challenges. Some differences include:

  • Among hourly workers, 26% have been paid too little and 15% have been paid late. Only 6% have been overpaid.
  • Among salaried workers, only 15% have been underpaid. Meanwhile 16% were paid late while nearly one-quarter (23%) were paid early.
  • Freelance workers are the smallest of the three groups, and face the most difficulties with their pay. 20% have been paid late, 20% have been paid too little, and 16% have had their paycheck deposited into the wrong account.
  • Among all workers, 10.6 million (7%) have had their paycheck bounce. Salaried workers were most likely to face this issue, as 16% have had their paycheck bounce, more than hourly and freelance workers combined.

The study found 87 million American workers (58%) are living paycheck-to-paycheck, which means payroll problems can wreak havoc with their financial life. 56 million Americans (37%) have paid a bill late because of a payroll error. Salaried employees are more likely than hourly employees (45% versus 29%) to make a late payment due to payroll errors, but hourly employees are more likely to be living paycheck-to-paycheck than salaried workers (65% versus 52%).

Payroll mistakes are not just costing employees money. Employers are also dealing with costly errors. More than 13.6 million workers report being overpaid, and many are not reporting this to their employers immediately. Most said they would have to be overpaid $463 before they reported the error to their boss. Salaried employees said they would need to be overpaid $735, while hourly workers would report an overpayment of $160. Men also appear to be more dishonest than women in this matter. Men would keep $623 before reporting the mistake, while women would only keep $258.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of March 30, 2017. For up-to-date
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