How to Get a Raise When Your Employer Canâ™t Afford to Give You One


get a pay raiseRaises are tough to get these days, and even when they do come they’re often in the low single digits. While we might be tempted to think that the problem is either that the employer doesn’t value our skills or is just being stingy, the truth is often deeper.

Many employers are holding back raises for economic survival. Often your performance is good or even superior but budget problems leave no room for pay increases of any kind. Health insurance is another issueâ”premiums go up every year and employers often eat the increases to keep harmony in the staff.

If you’re facing this situation, and especially if it’s been happening for several years, you may want to look in other directions to get what we might call a raise equivalentâ.

The way to do this is to look beyond money. If your employer can’t afford to give you a raise, ask for one or more of the following.

Extra vacation time

One week of additional vacation time translates to approximately a 2% raise on an annual basis (1 week divided by 52 weeks). Though your employer will be without your services for the extra week, it isn’t the kind of situation where they’ll be writing an additional check that will come out of the bottom line. You get extra time off, but it costs the company nothing.

Flextime

Though it may not seem apparent at first glance, a flextime arrangement could be worth more to you than extra vacation time or even a pay raise. Here’s whyâ¦

  • It can offer you a more favorable schedule that will cut time off your morning and afternoon commutes; net resultâ”more free time
  • A schedule that gets you out of work earlier in the day could help your cause if you have a second job or side businessâ”though you won’t earn extra money on your job, you could see an increase from your side venture as a result
  • If you have hobbies or charitable work that you do in your off hours, a flexible schedule could be set up that gives you more time for those pursuits

A good friend of mine who is breaking into ministry work has a 6 am to 2:30 pm work schedule on his full time job that gives him more time for training and ministry work. It’s always worth looking into making this happen.

One of the best aspects of flextime is that from an employer standpoint, it’s revenue neutral. You’re working the same number of hours, just at times that work better with your life. If that isn’t a form of compensation, I don’t know what is!

Work from home

Working from home doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re one for whom it does this could be an excellent raise substitute.

Not only does work from home cut out commutingâ”and the time it takesâ”but it also tends to minimize office politics, gossip sessions and even some meetings. You may find that you’re able to get more work done in less time. If so, you can use the extra time to increase your production, and that may get you a money raise next time around.

Be ready to negotiate too. If you can’t get a full time work from home arrangement, ask for three days a week, or even two. Any days you can get will be a win.

A shorter work week

This one is risky, but if you’re truly getting the job done for your employer, and the reason you don’t get a raise is because of the company’s financial position it could be worth asking for.

There are different ways to work this out. One could be a shorter day, say 7.5 hours rather than eight. Another could be an early departure one day a week. Just make sure your employer values your services enough to consider the arrangement.

Transfer to another department

This is another risky move, but it could also address several other issues. If one of the reasons you don’t get a raise is because your department is under budget pressure, moving to another department could remove the problem.

But perhaps more important is that it will give you a chance to develop a new set of skills that could help you advance in your industry. You’re opting to take the long term view with this move.

Promotion

Many promotions occur without raises so this isn’t even a stretch. Just as you would do in transferring to a different department, a promotionâ”even without extra compensationâ”could offer you an opportunity to raise your position (if in name only) and to learn some new skills.

Though there’d be no immediate financial benefit to the move, it could payoff handsomely in the future.

When money is tight for your employer, flexibility is your best ally. Use it well and get the extra compensation you deserve.

Have raises been an issue on your job? If so, what are you doing to work around it?

photo by refractedmoments

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Written by Kevin

With backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry, Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of OutOfYourRut.com, a website about careers, business ideas, money and more. A committed Christian, he lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids.

Kevin

With backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry, Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of OutOfYourRut.com, a website about careers, business ideas, money and more. A committed Christian, he lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids.

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