Base salary is a fixed amount of money paid to an employee by an employer in return for work performed. Base salary does not include benefits, bonuses or any other potential compensation from an employer. Base salary is paid, most frequently, in a bi-weekly paycheck to an exempt or professional employee. In most years, an employee's base salary is paid in 26 even paychecks over the course of the year.
An employee who is paid a base salary is expected to complete a whole job in return for the base salary. This is different from a non-exempt employee who is paid an hourly rate or by the piece produced. This employee is generally eligible to collect overtime.
The salaried employee or employee who is paid by base salary does not track hours worked and is not paid for overtime. (Some public sector, often union represented, employees expect to account for hours and collect compensatory time off. This is not the norm in the private sector.)
Base salary is determined by market pay rates for people doing similar work in similar industries in the same region. Base salary is also determined by the pay rates and base salary ranges established by an individual employer. Base salary is also affected by the number of people available to perform the specific job in the employer's employment locale.
Many companies participate in base salary market surveys to create a trustworthy resource for base salary research. More and more base salary research is occurring online using base salary calculators.