Take Home Pay "Takes"

September 10, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Americans say they would need to earn an average salary of $440,000 per year to feel rich, but their neighbors north of the border set that bar a lot lower.

Canadians feel they could “live it up” for two-thirds of that amount ($296,000), according to the fifth annual ADP Payday Poll. However, the poll also revealed that more than one third (36%) of Canadians don’t even know their annual take-home pay.

Young adults (aged 18-29) – the least likely to know their annual take-home pay (35% versus a national average of 58%) are also the least likely to report being overpaid. In fact, nearly a quarter (24%) of this group admitted they would not report a major overage on their paycheck.

If a co-worker’s paycheck was lying open on his or her desk and no one was around, fewer than one quarter of Canadians (23%) say they would sneak a peek. Interestingly, those making $100,000 or more, were notably more likely (26%) to sneak a peek at a colleague’s paycheck than those earning under $15,000 (18%).

To Who To Tell

If they found themselves in a situation where they were about to disclose their salary, three quarters of Canadians (76%) would tell a friend the truth, while 72% would do the same for a future employer, and a full 70% would do so for a colleague. Just 13% admit they would overstate their salary to a future employer.

The ADP Payday Poll indicates that the vast majority of Canadians (88%) would tell their employer if they were mistakenly overpaid by 50%, and 87% would do so if they were overpaid by 25% (makes you wonder about that 1% for whom 50% is reportable, but a “mere” 25% isn’t). A whopping 81% would mention an error of 10%.