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Pay Structure: basic Pay, DA, HRA, Gross Pay, Take home Pay, etc

The pay structure or salary structure defines the compensation given to the employees. It shows the breakup of the salary into various components. Based on various criteria such as the professional experience or employees, or grades or bands the employees are categorized under, different pay structures may be defined in an organization. One pay structure may be applicable to multiple bands or grades and one band or grade may have multiple pay structures.

Pay structures offer a framework for wage progression and can help encourage appropriate behaviours and performance, while pay progression describes how employees are able to increase their pay within their salary grade or band.

Pay structures can be distinguished by two key characteristics: the number of grades, levels or bands; and the width or span of each grade. For example:

Narrow-graded pay structures, often found in the public sector, typically comprise ten or more grades, with jobs of broadly equivalent worth in each grade. Progression is by service increments, although due to narrow grades employees can reach the top of the pay range relatively quickly, potentially leading to ‘grade drift’ and jobs ranked more highly than justified

Broad-graded structures have fewer grades, perhaps six to nine, and greater scope for progression that can counter ‘grade drift’ problems

Broad-banding involves the use of an even smaller number of pay bands (four or five). Designed to allow for greater pay flexibility, typical broad-banding would place no limits on pay progression within each band, although some employers have introduced a greater degree of structure

Job families group jobs within similar functions or occupations, with separate pay structures for different ‘families’ (e.g. sales or IT staff). With around six to eight levels, similar to broad-grading, job family structures allows for higher rates of pay for sought-after specialist staff

Career families extend the metaphor with a common pay structure across all ‘job families’ rather than separate pay structures for each family. Career families tend to emphasise career paths and progression rather than the greater focus on pay of job families.

Basic Pay

This is the core of salary, and many other components may be calculated based on this amount. It usually depends on one’s grade within the company’s salary is a fixed part of one’s compensation structure. Many allowances and deductions are described in terms of percentage of the Basic Salary.

Basic salary is the base income of an individual. Basic salary is the amount paid to employees before any reductions or increases due to overtime or bonus, allowances (internet usage for those who work from home or communication allowance). Basic salary is a fixed amount paid to employees by their employers in return for the work performed or performance of professional duties by the former. Base salary, therefore, does not include bonuses, benefits or any other compensation from employers. As the name suggests, basic salary is the core of the salary of an employee. It is a fixed part of the compensation structure of an employee and generally depends on her or her designation. If the appointment of an employee is made on a pay scale, the basic salary may increase every year. Else, it remains fixed.

According to experts, the basic salary differs according to the type of the industry. For instance, employees in the information technology industry prefer take-home salary (since the staff turnover is high) while employees in the manufacturing companies get more fringe benefits.

DA (Dearness Allowance)

The Dearness Allowance (DA) is a cost of living adjustment to allowance. It is calculated as a percentage of (Basic pay + grade pay). Dearness allowance is updated every quarter of calendar year to compensate for inflation in consumer price index. It may increase or decrease depending on inflation rate. (Decrease in DA is rare).

House Rent Allowance (HRA)

House Rent Allowance (HRA) is a common component of their salary structure. Although it is a part of your salary, HRA, unlike basic salary, is not fully taxable. Subject to certain conditions, a part of HRA is exempted under Section 10 (13A) of the Income-tax Act, 1961.

The amount of HRA exemption is deductible from the total income before arriving at a taxable income. This helps the employee to save tax. But do keep in mind that the HRA received from your employer, is fully taxable i f an employee is living in his own house or if he does not pay any rent.

Who can avail HRA?

The tax benefit is available only to a salaried individual who has the HRA component as part of his salary structure and is staying in a rented accommodation. Self-employed professionals cannot avail the deduction.

Gross Pay

Gross pay for an employee is the amount used to calculate that employees’ wages (for an hourly employee) or salary (for a salaried employee. It is the total amount you as the employer owe the employee for work during one pay period. Gross pay includes regular hourly or salaried pay and it also includes any overtime paid to the employee during the pay period.

For both salaried and hourly employees, the calculation is based on an agreed-upon amount of gross pay. That is, both the employee and employer have agreed that this is the pay rate. The pay rate should be in writing and signed by both the employee an employer.

For hourly employees, that pay rate might be negotiated by a union contract. For salaried employees, that rate might be in an employment contract or just a pay letter. In each case, the gross pay rate should be agreed to and signed before the employee begins working.

An example of gross pay calculation for a salaried employee:

 A salaried employee has an annual salary of $47,000 a year. The salaried employees at this company are paid on the 15th and 30th of each month (twice a month). The $47,000 is divided by 24 to get $1958.33, which is the gross pay for each pay period.

Take-Home Pay

Take-home pay is the net amount of income received after the deduction of taxes, benefits, and voluntary contributions from a paycheck. It is the difference between the gross income less all deductions. Deductions include federal, state and local income tax, Social Security and Medicare contributions, retirement account contributions, and medical, dental and other insurance premiums. The net amount or take-home pay is what the employee receives.


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