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PER-diem verses pay
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PER-diem verses pay

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« on: Feb 28, 2007, 03:01 »

I have never posted here before. be easy on me.. i have a question.. why do we as techs insist on perdiem over pay.  with the outage seasons as short as they are and working 72 to 84 hours a week would we or would we not be better off with the payscale to increase ( like what the lab,s get or elect,pie fitters ect)  up to 45.00 a hour in some facilities. we would still be able to deduct all our living expenses  on our taxes  but with the pay rate  we would end up making more,  and it would help us  aging people with soc sec,  just  a question  it seems prudent to me ... but helll i dont know anything.. someone (ok all of you ) with more brains  tell me why we dont insist on this...  please     
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 28, 2007, 06:20 »

Why not both?  You should get the pay that the market demands for your services.  If you have to travel for your employer, they should pay your expenses at a reasonable and customary rate.

The question isn't per diem OR pay, but why aren't BOTH higher?
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 28, 2007, 06:55 »

I agree BeerCourt.  Per diem is a separate issue from pay scale.  The expenses paid should reflect one's area and not job classification or anything else that ties into pay.  However, this is not the way of the business. 
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 28, 2007, 07:18 »

I guess it would be depending on the diem math.  If I go to Millstone and get 770 a week diem but only have to pay 200 for a hotel and clear 570 and I am in the 25 percent income tax bracket then the 570 is worth about 720. which divided by 72 is 10 an hour. and 5 AND 7.50 Returnee bonus I guess I am making about 40 straight and 55 an hour OT.  But everyones math is different and it also depends on bracket.  But I like my math some may not, LOL  No Diem no siem, Somebody needs to explain diem math to DOE, especially, I DA HO.  I no da ho for Idaho because of DIEM.  LOL  I Da Ho For Mass Unemployment Dough!!
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 28, 2007, 07:26 »

actually, per diem ISN'T totally seperate from pay, in reality.  Per diem isn't always paid to people who travel for thier jobs.  It is pay, but it is a way to pay people without taxing it, which people like.  Per diem is pay, but it is used to offset the cost of living, therefore, it can be paid in a different manner.  There are plenty of people who travel and don't get per diem.   Think about it.  Per diem is not a requirement.

so to say per diem isn't pay seems "not right" to me, although it would be nice if everyone who traveled got diem.  if it were law that when people travel they have to be paid travel expenses, then, maybe diem could be considered seperate from pay.  if there was no diem, people would just write off thier expenses and make due with the pay received.  the pay received would most likely be at a higher rate to compensate for no diem, another piece of evidence that diem truly is pay.
 
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 28, 2007, 08:03 »

Per diem is not pay.  Yes, some people travel without per diem, but they may be able to turn all of their expenses in to the company and be compensated.  Per diem is a method of paying for expenses incurred by an employee without having to have all the receipt, voucher, audit, etc. type of expense incurred by the employer.  Which is good for business.  Maybe not good for the employee. This would depend on the compensation rate for expenses.
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 28, 2007, 08:06 »

One thing I have a problem with is the practice of paying local techs more than those drawing per diem. Pay and per diem, legally speaking, are two different things. You are paid your wage for what you do and that is the same regardless of how far from home you are. Per diem is based on your elligibility to deduct expenses related to business travel. I think the practice of paying "local" techs more than "roadies" constitues Discrimination based on residency and I believe it's illegal. I'm no lawyer and I could be wrong. Eric?
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 28, 2007, 08:36 »

Everybody's at least partially right on this one.
A job that pays well, but doesn't offer per diem, results in a negative impact on the income.
A job that pays locals more to "make-up" for the per diem is just unfair to the travellers -- although locals might deserve a little kick to reward them for being loyal returnees, and because it's good to employ locals in any business.
Pocketing a little per diem is always a good thing, but not a lot of money when you consider that it's only a couple of hundred a week for about half of the weeks in a year.

And yeah, all that per diem you put in the bank will not count toward your Social Security.  You can't use it as income for purposes of 401(k) contributions or mortgage applications or that sort of thing, but it also doesn't count as income when considering your kids' financial aid eligibility for college. 

Bottom line:  if you start thinking of per diem as a part of your compensation, rather than as a reimbursement for expenses you incur for the benefit of your employer, they have you where they want you.
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 28, 2007, 10:27 »

not true, some people are offered jobs with no per diem AND they get no travel pay.  there is no reimbursement for some people.  that's what i'm trying to get you to understand.  per diem is money distributed to workers so they do a job.

believe me, if any company could get away with not paying your living expenses, they would.

once again, plenty of people all across america work out of state and get no per diem.  but they can write off expenses on thier taxes.  travel pay is NOT required by the govt or any other regulation for members of the general poplulation.

it is given out much of the time, but there is plenty of time where it isn't.

my friend nick is making 18$ an hour in oregon with NO diem, NO reimbursement.  he is just working a construction job and living with a friend.

you can haggle all you want all day about terminology, but $$$ are going into your pocket for doing a job.  that's why when locals get a job  they get more money per hour if others are getting diem.  if diem was not pay, this wouldn't happen.
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« Reply #9 on: Mar 01, 2007, 08:17 »

I remember reading Abercombie vs Bartlett requarding per diem being wages for worker compensation. I believe keith won that arquement with the workers comp board.
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« Reply #10 on: Mar 01, 2007, 08:33 »

you can haggle all you want all day about terminology, but $$$ are going into your pocket for doing a job.  that's why when locals get a job  they get more money per hour if others are getting diem.  if diem was not pay, this wouldn't happen.

Legally per diem is not pay, or it would be taxed. Semantics? Sure. It is all money in your pocket, and there is no legal requirement for any of it including the pay. Without pay, nobody would work. Without per diem, most people in our business would not travel. Why do we get it and others don't? Perhaps that is one thing they know is sacrosanct to us. Without a union to organize us, that is one subject that would certainly cause the vast majority of us to hold out... everybody knows the catchphrase. Employers pay us to get us to work... incentive. Per diem is another incentive. They use per diem rather than additional pay for TAX PURPOSES... theirs and ours. The money that pays your per diem comes out of a separate account from your pay for the utilities and the Contract companies, too... if you notice your paycheck and per diem check come from different accounts. For the utility it has everything to do with taxes. And it is another incentive for you.

As far as extra money for locals... think incentive again. It is an advantage for the Contract company to provide locals... as Beer Court said, the utilities like it for one thing. For the tech, it more like a shot of methadone for a heroin addict than anything else... eases the withdrawal. Many times I have chosen to travel rather than stay home and work at Calvert Cliffs even though it is about 15 minutes away and I know Calvert would like me to come back. I know their plant, policies and procedures and still have my fingerprints all over their training program. But per diem is a nasty habit to break. I was per diem free for 12 years and it only took one check to get me back.
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 01, 2007, 09:06 »

Bottom line:  if you start thinking of per diem as a part of your compensation, rather than as a reimbursement for expenses you incur for the benefit of your employer, they have you where they want you.

Exactly!
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 01, 2007, 01:09 »

I think what I was trying to say, is that if we get 40+ a hour working the outage hours,( we should be making more any way   but thatís another topic) u take that extra 15 dollars a hour and even with it being taxed, my math says it would work out better then.... and even better when you file taxes, with companies bringing u in the first week on a Friday  working u sat and sun, and laying u off on wed  , we as techs are getting less and less the companies are figuring out ways how to not pay us,   with safety bonusís ect instead of putting it in our pay. the companies are billing for all this...  and we stand for it. I agree that we should get more money  a hour  at least what the craft get, I recently looked at a laborers check we worked the same hours, even with my per diem she made 700.00 more than me after taxes and that is in part because they get paid overtime after 8 double time on Sundays, we get laid off on Wednesdays  and work 36 hours for the week get no overtime.. ok enough of my ramblings, its just that  they have a shortage of techs , and we keep letting them do this to us.. why?
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« Reply #13 on: Mar 01, 2007, 01:13 »

...its just that  they have a shortage of techs , and we keep letting them do this to us.. why?

Please take a little time and peruse the rest of the site. This subject has been very well flogged in SEVERAL topics.
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« Reply #14 on: Mar 01, 2007, 01:54 »

Dave a little karma your way for stepping into the line of fire.  Wink
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« Reply #15 on: Mar 01, 2007, 02:16 »

Why not both?  You should get the pay that the market demands for your services.  If you have to travel for your employer, they should pay your expenses at a reasonable and customary rate.

The question isn't per diem OR pay, but why aren't BOTH higher?

Per diem and pay are both the same thing "the price of a tech" If they pay it and you come, they have no reason to pay more. Call it what you want a $ is a $ and it's how many $ it takes to get you there...and nothing else. But yes if there is no diem you can only deduct actual expenses and that will cost you. Want more money, sit out a season...yeah right!
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 01, 2007, 03:03 »

I agree with most of your post Troja, but i think you are wrong about nobody working without Diem.  I would work without Diem, as long as the hourly pay-rate was higher so as to make up for it!  And that is my point, if I made, say, 35$/hr instead of 25$/hr, it would work out just as well for me.  And then i would just write off my expenses on my taxes which would be just as benificial as Diem, but with more hassle for a guy like me, because I hate keeping track of stuff.

Another reason I think Diem is truly pay.  If the IRS has a problem with you getting Diem for many different reasons, they will identify it as income and tax you for it.  Yuck!

semantics, yep.
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« Reply #17 on: Mar 01, 2007, 04:07 »

...if I made, say, 35$/hr instead of 25$/hr, it would work out just as well for me.

If you are willing to give up $700/week for $10/hr you are just about going to break even (depending on your tax bracket and how good your accountant is) at 6/12s and ignoring short weeks and training weeks. You are voluntarily taking a real pay cut... no thanks for me.

But the real issue is the reason companies are willing to pay per diem rather than pay more. It is a huge difference to them which pot the money comes out of when they pay you because of their taxes and the ability to claim expenses against income. I am certainly no expert but you get into capital vs. non-capital money and depending on the status of deregulation you also get into what can be recovered from the rate base, etc. It is an accounting thing... and that carries more weight than anything except motivating all those electrons.

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Another reason I think Diem is truly pay.  If the IRS has a problem with you getting Diem for many different reasons, they will identify it as income and tax you for it.  Yuck!

By taking the pay instead of per diem you just saved the IRS the trouble of deciding whether or not it should be taxed. IF they rule for whatever reason that it is pay and decide to tax it, then you lose -- but why volunteer to give it to them? Again, no thanks. If it is true that the only thing that really matters is number of dollars in pocket, you have to get a lot of taxed pay to make up for loss of untaxed per diem. Personally, I will take the per diem, thank you very much.
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« Reply #18 on: Mar 01, 2007, 07:17 »

it may be a pay cut, but very small.  you would be able to write off alot of your work expenses because you weren't getting perdiem, so 10$ an hour might be a raise depending on the diem rates and how much you wrote off.  AND you would max out unemployment better and faster, although this would only be helpful to those of us that only work 5 or 6 months out of the year and worry about filling quarters.  That has to be taken into account here for lazybones like me.

But i'm not talking about 10$ an hour specifically.  The point is a dollar is a dollar and I think it is only terminology that seperates diem from pay.  In my reality, I do a spreadsheet to see what plant wins.

I'm not saying I volunteer to give the IRS my Diem, I was talking about a hypothetical situation for most of us.  I brought it up merely to argue whether or not diem is actually pay or not.
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 01, 2007, 08:28 »

not true, some people are offered jobs with no per diem AND they get no travel pay.  there is no reimbursement for some people.  that's what i'm trying to get you to understand. 

 per diem is money distributed to workers so they do a job.

people who travel for jobs that do not get compesated for their expenses while traveling make a virtual killing at tax time.  they will claim every freaking dime they spent and get the credit against their income.   if they don't due this, it's their problem.  it got nutting to due wit those who get diem, or those who get compensated for their expenses incurred by the employer.  iffen they travel fer $8/hr 'n no expenses, i shood shed a tear?   pardon me, while i paws fer dat cause.  ok, done wit that emotion.   Wink  per diem is an auditing short cut.  it is for expenses incurred.  it ain't no stinking income. you wanna argue it's income, go tawk to da i.r.s., they'll be happy to tax you for it.   when they do, don't whine about having to come up with an extra $10k fer da taxman, cause i won't wanna here it either.

perdiem has nutting to do wit doing a job.  it has everything to do with maintaining your necesstites while being away from home 'n hearth.
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« Reply #20 on: Mar 01, 2007, 08:57 »

I would rather have higher pd and higher pay, but pd isn't taxed!
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« Reply #21 on: Mar 01, 2007, 09:22 »

I would rather have higher pd and higher pay, but pd isn't taxed!

yeah, 'n eye kin remember when unemployment wasant taxed either.  sum things in life change.  best too be prepared.
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« Reply #22 on: Mar 30, 2007, 09:57 »

Give me the GSA rates for per diem!
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« Reply #23 on: Mar 30, 2007, 10:08 »

Give me the GSA rates for per diem!

http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?contentId=17943&contentType=GSA_BASIC
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« Reply #24 on: Mar 30, 2007, 10:52 »

Thanks.
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