Business Tips··8 min read

Salary vs Hourly Pay Rate: The Pros And Cons of Both

Salary vs Hourly Pay Rate: The Pros And Cons of Both

When we talk about how people get paid for their work, there are two types of payment structures.

That's the hourly rate and the salary methods.

But how exactly do they differ from one another, and what are the advantages and disadvantages associated with each?

These are critical questions for anyone navigating the modern workforce.

And that's whether you're just starting your career or are a top-level professional. 

This is what we're going to talk about in this article.

How does an hourly rate work?

salary vs hourly pay rate

Starting with an hourly rate, this is where someone you hire is considered an hourly employee.

In this arrangement, the employee’s pay is based on the number of hours they work.

For each hour, you get paid an hourly wage. This is common for an hourly worker or someone in an hourly position.

The beauty of this system is its straightforwardness - they work an hour, they get paid for an hour.

This structure is often seen in jobs that require flexibility or have varying workloads.

It's important to note that this wage should at least meet the minimum wage set by the law in your area.

How does salary work?

hourly vs salary

Now, let's switch gears to a salaried position.

In this case, the person you hire a salaried employee.

Unlike hourly workers, they receive a fixed amount of money on a regular schedule.

It can be monthly or bi-weekly, and regardless of the time worked. 

This fixed amount is their salary.

This model is typically used for positions where the workload is consistent. What's more, the focus is more on completing tasks and responsibilities rather than counting hours. 

A position like this often comes with a sense of security, as the employee knows exactly how much they will be earning in each pay period.

So, in a nutshell, if the employee gets paid hourly, they are paid for each hour they work, often seen in more flexible or variable roles. On the other hand, being a salaried employee means they have a consistent pay amount. This is more common in roles with steady workloads and responsibilities. Each has its benefits, depending on the nature of the job and the preference of the employee.

Hourly employee pay: pros and cons

Now, let's talk about the bright and dark sides of hourly payments.


  • Flexibility in hours - one of the big pluses of being paid per hour is the flexibility it offers. Hourly employees often have the ability to shift their work hours around, making it easier to balance work with personal life or studies.
  • Overtime pay - under the Fair Labor Standards Act, hourly employees must be paid overtime for any hours worked over the standard 40-hour workweek. This means earning a higher wage per hour for those extra hours, which can boost your income.
  • The pay reflects work done - with this type of pay, the amount you earn directly reflects the time you put in. If you work more hours, you get paid for each additional hour.


  • Income variability - one of the challenges with hourly pay is the variability in income. Since you're paid only for the hours you work, if you work fewer hours in a week, your paycheck will be smaller. This can make budgeting and financial planning more difficult.
  • Lack of benefits - often, hourly positions may not come with the same level of benefits as other positions. For instance, paid vacation might be limited or non-existent, impacting your employees’ ability to take time off without financial worry.
  • No guaranteed set amount - hourly employees don't have a guaranteed number of working hours. Their earnings can fluctuate based on the number of hours they work, which can be less predictable.


  1. Flexibility in hours
  2. Overtime pay (as per the Fair Labor Standards Act)
  3. Pay directly reflects hours worked


  1. Income variability
  2. Lack of benefits like paid time off
  3. No guaranteed amount for each pay period

In summary, hourly pay offers great flexibility and the potential to earn more through overtime. However, it also comes with the unpredictability of income and often fewer benefits compared to a salaried position. It's a trade-off that depends heavily on personal preferences and life circumstances.

Salaried employee pay: pros and cons

Moving on, it's time to look into how salary can be good (or not) for your employees.


  • Stable income - for a salaried worker, one of the biggest advantages is the stability of income. They receive a predetermined annual salary, divided into regular payments (monthly or bi-weekly), regardless of the number of hours worked. This predictability is great for budgeting and financial planning.
  • Benefits and perks - these positions often come with additional benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. These perks add significant value to the overall compensation package beyond just the annual salary.
  • No strict hour tracking - salaried employees are typically not required to track their hours as strictly as hourly employees. This can lead to a more flexible approach to managing work time, especially when working more than 40 hours per week.


  • Potential for unpaid overtime - while salaried workers have a steady income, they're usually exempt from overtime pay. This means if they work more than 40 hours a week, they don't receive extra compensation.
  • Minimum wage issues - in some cases, the employee’s annual earnings divided by the actual hours worked can end up being close to or even less than the minimum wage. That's especially true if extensive overtime is involved.
  • Less flexibility in hours - salaried positions often come with a set schedule, which can be less flexible than the schedules of people working hourly. This can be a downside for those who prefer or need a more adaptable work schedule.


  1. Stable income
  2. Benefits and perks (health insurance, paid time off)
  3. No strict hour tracking


  1. Potential for unpaid overtime
  2. Annual earnings may be close to minimum wage for extensive hours
  3. Less flexibility in work hours

In essence, salaried positions offer financial stability and usually come with better benefits. But they also mean you might work longer hours without additional pay and miss out on the overtime advantages that hourly workers enjoy. It's a balance between stability and flexibility, where personal career goals and lifestyle choices play a significant role in determining the right fit.

Which one is better for you?

hourly pay rate vs salary

Deciding whether an hourly or salaried position is better for your employees really depends on their personal circumstances, career goals, and lifestyle preferences.

If your employees value flexibility and the potential to earn more through overtime, an hourly position might be more appealing. This is particularly true if they are someone who likes the idea of being paid for every hour you work, especially if those hours vary from week to week. Students, people looking for part-time work, or those balancing other commitments often find hourly roles more accommodating. Plus, the overtime pay can be a significant bonus if they frequently work more than the standard 40 hours a week.

On the other hand, if your employees are looking for stability and predictability in their income, a salaried position could be a better fit. It's comforting to know exactly what their paycheck will be as it makes it easier to plan and budget. Salaried roles also tend to offer more comprehensive benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans. These are important considerations for long-term financial health and stability. Additionally, if your employee is in a career where longer hours are the norm and they don't mind not getting paid extra for that time, the fixed salary can feel more secure.

Generally speaking, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. If flexibility and being paid for every hour worked are important to your employees, an hourly position might be the way to go. 

However, if they prefer income stability and better benefits, and are okay with potentially working more hours without extra pay, a salaried role could be more suitable. It's all about what aligns best with their personal and professional needs.

Salary and hourly pay made simple with Unrubble

Managing both hourly and salaried payments becomes a breeze with Unrubble.

All thanks to its comprehensive suite of features designed to simplify time tracking, PTO managing, and scheduling.

For hourly employees, Unrubble offers a powerful time tracking solution that lets employees record their work time from any location using any device. 

This includes a mobile app with GPS tracking, ensuring accurate logging of work hours. This feature is especially beneficial for managing remote teams or employees who work in different locations. The system can be used by anyone, regardless of their tech-savviness.

When it comes to scheduling, Unrubble provides an intuitive work scheduling tool. It's equipped with features like work scheduling drafts, which allow managers to create and publish schedules only when they're ready. This flexibility is key for adapting to the dynamic needs of an hourly workforce. The tool’s user-friendly interface makes it easy for both managers and employees to handle scheduling changes and updates efficiently.

For salaried employees, Unrubble’s PTO tracking features streamline leave management. The system offers a straightforward way to manage time-off requests, ensuring a smooth and efficient leave process. 

This is particularly useful for salaried workers who often have a set number of vacation days and need a simple way to plan and track their time off. 

The software's smart request management system ensures that managing PTO, work-from-home days, and vacation times is hassle-free for both employees and administrators.

Unrubble's all-in-one dashboard also includes features like timesheets and a time clock app. The timesheet feature is particularly useful for tracking work hours and managing payroll, while the time clock app offers solutions to common issues like buddy punching.

In essence, whether you hire hourly workers or salaried employees, Unrubble offers tailored solutions to make managing work hours simpler and more efficient. The software’s ease of use, from both an administrative and user perspective, adds to its appeal for a wide range of business types and sizes. Don't wait, try it today - it's free.

Wrap up

We hope that now you have a perfect understanding of the ways that salaried and hourly employee compensation function.

With this knowledge, you're better equipped to make informed decisions about your career path or understand the compensation structures of your team.

Remember, each system has its own set of benefits and challenges.

The right choice often depends on personal circumstances and career objectives.

Together with Unrubble, it all becomes a piece of cake.

Don't forget to give it a try soon. 

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