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Salary is a fixed amount of money or compensation paid to an employee by an employer in return for work performed. Salary is paid, most frequently, in a bi-weekly paycheck to an exempt or professional employee. In most years, an employee's salary is paid in 26 even paychecks over the course of the year.

An employee who is paid a salary is expected to complete a whole job in return for the 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 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.)

Because of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules about overtime payment, employers are required to closely track the hours and partial hours worked by non-exempt or hourly employees.

Salary is determined by market pay rates for people doing similar work in similar industries in the same region. Salary is also determined by the pay rates and salary ranges established by an individual employer. 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 salary market surveys to create a trustworthy resource for salary research. More and more salary research is occurring online using salary calculators.

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Also Known As: compensation, pay
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