What Is Base Salary? (2024)

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  • What is a base salary?
  • Who receives a base salary?
  • Who is exempt from a base salary?
  • How to calculate base salary
  • Popular jobs with base salaries

People work for many reasons. The most common reason is to earn money so they can buy the things they need and want. But before you accept a job offer, it’s important to understand how you’ll receive payment for your services. Employees get paid in many ways, with the most common forms of payment being hourly or salary.

What is a base salary?

Base salary refers to the fixed amount of money an employee can expect to earn annually at a job. This amount does not include commission, benefits, bonuses or any additional forms of compensation. Most often, employees receive their salaries bi-weekly throughout the year over 26 paychecks.

Who receives a base salary?

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees are categorized as exempt or nonexempt. Exempt employees are defined as salaried employees who don’t get paid by the hour. A salaried employee receives a base salary.

Who is exempt from a base salary?

Hourly employees are exempt from a base salary because they get paid according to the hours they work. On the other hand, salaried employees get a fixed amount of money for work performed, no matter how many hours they work. Of course, they must be able to meet certain goals and objectives.

How to calculate base salary

If you’re currently employed and don’t know already know what your base salary is, you can follow these steps to calculate your annual salary:

1. First, decide whether you are a salaried employee

It helps to understand your employment status when calculating your base salary. When you were hired, you were probably told that you’d be paid a set salary or by the hour. You might reference your official job offer for the details of your pay, though it may not be accurate if you’ve recently received a raise or had other changes to your status. Contact your employer’s payroll department for verification.

2. Second, reference information in your pay stub

Look at your pay stub for the specifics of your gross (total) pay. Pay stubs show specific deductions that include federal, state and local taxes, plus social security and Medicare. Other common deductions include health insurance premiums, flexible spending accounts and contributions to retirement plans. Your gross pay is the amount you earn before deductions, which differs from the net (take-home) pay that appears on your paycheck (or your direct deposit) after deductions. If your employer uses an online payment platform, your pay stub is likely available in digital format. Reference your gross pay when determining salary.

3. Third, determine your pay schedule

Understand how often you get paid. Many businesses pay employees bi-weekly, though some pay weekly, monthly or semi-monthly.

Examples of pay schedules:

  • Weekly paychecks typically come on Mondays or Fridays, resulting in 52 paychecks per year.
  • Bi-weekly paychecks come every two weeks, most often on Friday, amounting to 26 paychecks per year.
  • Semi-monthly pay periods produce 24 paychecks per year. This schedule pays typically on the 1st and 15th or 15th and 30th of the month.
  • Monthly paychecks come at the end of the month, resulting in 12 paychecks per year.

If you’re still unsure, your company’s payroll department can confirm the payment schedule.

4. Fourth, factor in any overtime pay and bonuses

According to federal laws, employees who earn less than $47,476 per year are entitled to overtime pay. This means that when you work extra hours (beyond 40 a week), you’ll earn 1.5 times more than your usual rate.

Example of how to calculate overtime pay:

  • A salaried employee makes $52,000 per year ($25 per hour). He works five extra hours one week, resulting in overtime pay. His gross pay for overtime would be 1.5 x $25 x 5 hours, resulting in an extra $187.50 that week.

You’ll want to keep track of your overtime hours, or request a tax statement from your employer to get an accurate picture of your annual salary.

5. Lastly, calculate your annual salary

Once you have a firm understanding of how to find information regarding your salary, you can calculate it. Refer to your pay stub and locate your total gross earnings, before deductions. Now multiply that amount by your number of paychecks each year.

Examples of how to calculate annual salary:

  • Weekly.If your total gross salary is $800, your annual salary is $41,600 per year. The equation is $800 x 52 = $41,600.
  • Bi-weekly. If your total gross salary is $1700, your annual salary is $44,200. The equation is $1,700 x 26 = $44,200.
  • Semi-monthly. If your total gross salary is $1200, your annual salary is $28,800. The equation is $1,200 x 24 = $28,800.
  • Monthly.If your total gross salary is $3400, your annual salary is $40,800 per year. The equation is $3,400 x 12 = $40,800.

Once you’ve determined your base salary, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about your budget and ways that you can save money for the future. You may decide it’s time for a raise or other employment option.

Popular jobs with base salaries

Here are a few examples of common jobs with base salaries:


National Average Salary: $39,998 per year

Role and Responsibilities:Teachers help students learn concepts related to general education subjects. These include areas like science, math, English, world history and computer skills.

Office Manager

National Average Salary: $42,388 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Office Managers oversee a company’s office staff and help to keep things organized. They provide administrative support to CEOs and other executive members, often scheduling appointments and travel arrangements. They ensure a harmonious environment for all employees within the office.


National Average Salary:$52,021 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Plumbers perform a variety of tasks that involve water supply and repair. They work in residential and commercial buildings, and often traveling to different locations each day. They install and fix pipes, water heaters, toilets, bathtubs, dishwashers and other water-related appliances. They sometimes assist with septic systems.


National Average Salary: $55,174 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Accountants work in many business settings and ensure that financial documents, taxes and records are accurate. They often work as financial advisors to help people manage their bank accounts and budgets.

Web Developer

National Average Salary: $77,167 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Web Developers help clients and businesses create websites and applications with their knowledge of coding (and design). They test site features, plus identify and correct issues on webpages that help ensure positive user experience.

What Is Base Salary? (2024)


What Is Base Salary? ›

What Is Base Salary? Base salary (also known as basic salary or base wages) is the fixed amount an employee must be paid for their work as agreed upon during the hiring process. Oftentimes, it's expressed as either an hourly rate, monthly income, or annual salary.

What does base salary mean? ›

Base pay, also commonly referred to as base salary or basic salary, is a fixed amount that an employer agrees to pay an employee in exchange for time and services agreed upon before the employee begins working. Base compensation is most often expressed as an hourly rate, monthly income, or annual salary.

Is base salary before or after taxes? ›

Base salary is the minimum amount of pay, before tax deductions or any additional compensation that an employee will receive for their work.

What is a good base salary? ›

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average salary in 2021 was $58,260. Although wages above the average could be seen as a good salary, there are no hard and fast rules regarding how to determine a good salary since there are many factors involved.

What is the basic salary? ›

Basic Salary refers to the amount of money that an employee receives prior to any extras being added or payments deducted. It excludes bonuses, overtime pay or any other potential compensation from an employer. The whole amount of basic salary is part of the take-home salary.

What do I put for base salary? ›

When answering desired salary or expected salary questions on an application, the best approach is to write in “negotiable” or keep the field blank. If a numerical response is required, enter “000” and in a notes section, mention that salary is negotiable based on further understanding of the position.

What's my base salary? ›

Base salary (also known as basic salary or base wages) is the fixed amount an employee must be paid for their work as agreed upon during the hiring process. Oftentimes, it's expressed as either an hourly rate, monthly income, or annual salary.

Is base salary better than hourly? ›

But salaried employees enjoy more benefits for the most part, such as paid vacation and sick days, retirement accounts, and other employer-sponsored benefits. Hourly workers don't usually receive compensation in the form of paid leave by the companies who hire them and they may be responsible for their own healthcare.

Is $80,000 a good salary for a single person? ›

Is $80K a good salary for a single person? $80,000 is about $5,000 higher than the U.S. median household income, so many people would consider it very good for a single person. “Good” is always a relative term when it comes to salary; whether or not the amount you earn covers your expenses is a highly personal dynamic.

Is $25 an hour a livable wage? ›

An analysis of the living wage (as calculated in December 2022 and reflecting a compensation being offered to an individual in 2023), compiling geographically specific expenditure data for food, childcare, health care, housing, transportation, and other necessities, finds that: The living wage in the United States is ...

What is my basic salary? ›

Basic salary is the entire amount an employee is guaranteed to earn in exchange for their work, without regard to variable pay additions or deductions.

What is the average basic salary? ›

The median average salary for full-time workers (male and female) in the UK in 2023 was £34,963 (£33,000 in 2022 and £31,285 in 2021). The mean average salary for full-time workers in the UK (male and female) in 2023 was £42,210 (£39,966 in 2022 and £38,131 in 2021).

What is the minimum salary in the USA? ›

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. This rate applies to covered nonexempt workers. The minimum wage for employees who receive tips is $2.13 per hour. The amount of tips plus the $2.13 must reach at least $7.25 per hour.

What is the difference between base salary and total salary? ›

Total compensation is more than just your paycheck. It includes everything you get from your employer. This means your base salary plus all the extra perks. These extras can be in cash, like bonuses, or in other forms, like benefits and stock options.

Is a base salary negotiable? ›

Once you have been offered a job position, you can use this to your advantage to negotiate your starting salary. Consider asking for a salary that is five to ten thousand above the original offer and see what your prospective employer can offer you in terms of higher pay.

What is your expected base salary? ›

Sample answer:

Based on my research and with my experience and specific skills in XYZ, I would expect to earn $X (provide higher value of the salary range). However, I am willing to be flexible as I am more interested in this role and working for Company X than I am in the initial offer.


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