Home > Stabilized my income!

Stabilized my income!

August 29th, 2020 at 03:11 pm

As I may have posted before, I've been working at home due to the pandemic since mid-March. I work p/t, but my hours have been dwindling since then, and in the last few months, I've averaged about 5 hours of work a week!

I finally decided to talk to my boss about it. I told him I needed to stabilize my income and just wanted to be paid what I was getting paid when working on-site, since I'm doing the identical job.

The big risk in doing so is that if they decided they wouldn't want to pay me more money, they could offer my p/t hours to my counterpart, who also works p/t during the latter half of the week.

Luckily, that didn't happen. After some discussion, he agreed that a retainer arrangement would work best for both of us, and they agreed to a fixed weekly payment based on 18 hours of work each week, regardless of how many hours I actually work. (I checked my average weekly hours for 2019, and it was 18.28, so I am right in the ballpark.)

This is wonderful! He said we want to make sure you feel like a valued member of the team. He had to talk to the co-owners of the company about it, and they gave it the green light. I also asked for a raise, noting that I hadn't asked for one last year, mostly due to my own oversight more than anything. I said since we're restructuring my job, this seems like a good time to address that, too.

And I got a 4% raise. So I'm going from $34.50 an hour to $36/hr.

I took this job 3 years ago. It was advertised originally as a temporary proofreading job, and I leveraged my background as a writer/editor to turn it into a kind of hybrid editor/proofreader job. If you consider it primarily editing, then I'm paid on the low side for this area and this industry, but if you consider it mainly a proofreader job, I'm paid at the top of the scale.

What's the difference between the two? A proofreader is not a writer. So they would confine themselves to fixing typos and punctuation. Hopefully grammar, too. An editor would do all that as well, but they also wouldn't hesitate to rewrite copy that lacks clarity, is redundant, confusing or not politically correct. They would correct for bad word choice and tone, and reorganize paragraphs of copy that don't flow right. Beyond the copy, I'm also checking formatting and making sure imagery and copy are in sync.

The important thing for me is that it has allowed me to pay the bulk of my expenses while working only 18 hours weekly. I had hoped to scale down to a p/t job as I approached retirement, but it would have been difficult to find a p/t job that pays this well. I have secured my retirement nest egg, paid off the mortgage and only need to pay ongoing expenses until I fully retire in 4 years' time at age 65.

So I went from worrying I could be entirely out of a job if they decided I wasn't worth keeping, to not only getting a guaranteed rate of weekly pay but a raise!

He also took my suggestion to finally cut the cord with the agency that found me, and which has been paying my paycheck for the last 3 years. I know they charge my firm more than double my hourly rate, so they've been making out royally while doing absolutely nothing. I have zero contact with them.

I'm very happy. The only thing remaining is that toward the end of our talk he indicated I'd still be treated as an independent contractor and I'd have to file my own quarterly tax payments.

This I do not want to do. I asked if they could take the taxes out for me, and he said to ask our (freelance) accountant, who works for our firm once a week. I hope this won't be a problem. I don't like that he said "ask her," since she shouldn't be the one making the decision, but only executing it.

I want them to deduct taxes for me and issue me a W-2 at year's end because it greatly simplifies things at tax time, not to mention I believe you pay higher taxes as an IC and I just want to minimize the number of tax forms I have to do. It also would make me ineligible for unemployment benefits should I ever lose the job. I'm really much more comfortable with a W-2.

My dad pointed out this arrangement could backfire on me should we get into one of our busy times, which is usually around the holidays. While that would have been true if this was still a full-time job (there were many, many late nights), I think the potential for that happening is fairly limited since I only work 2 full days (and 1 half-day) a week. So late hours could only happen on 2 days a week.

5 Responses to “Stabilized my income!”

  1. East Coast Saver (Wink) Says:

    That's terrific news, congratulations! I hope the tax situation works out.

  2. My English Castle Says:

    what a relief! Good for you getting it done.

  3. Dido Says:

    Congrats on the stabilization of income! That's huge. Also congrats on the raise--another win!!

    Will send you an email about tax issues.

  4. LuckyRobin Says:

    I'm glad you got that sorted out. It must be a relief.

  5. terri77 Says:

    Congratulations! Awesome wins. Stable income & a raise! Way to go advocating for yourself.

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