# Spot the problem here

Before applying at Mars, Wells had worked in food service, earning \$13 an hour. She saw Mars as a step up since it paid \$15.50 and promised steady work, unlike the food business during the pandemic. But it didn’t quite work out that way. For some weeks, when she missed a day or when the packers filled their quotas and got sent home early, she barely took home \$300 a week.

We’re not told what her regular hours were. So, we don’t know what it should be at \$15.50 an hour for a week’s work.

But note something else. The switch is made from the pre-tax wage per hour to the post tax take home pay. And yes, income tax would be paid on a full time \$15.50 an hour job – the standard deduction is at about \$6 an hour for full time work. Oh, and FICA must be paid from \$0.01 cents of earnings.

Tsk, eh?

## 13 thoughts on “Spot the problem here”

1. Even though Staffmark expected her to show up at Mars every day, she never stopped being classified as a temporary worker. She received no health care, no retirement savings, and no paid sick or vacation time.

My guess is that there’s going on with the rule about >30 hours qualifying for Obamacare. If your \$6 duedution is about right:

30 x 9.5 = \$285

So she’s hovering around that limit.

2. The other switch is from telling us what she earned to telling us what she was paid.

3. “She received no health care, no retirement savings, and no paid sick or vacation time.”

Sales desk over there —–>>> points at interwebs. You want it? You buy it.

4. So she got more than \$75 net per day for a four-day week. Pay \$15.50 less \$6 tax less FICA so \$9-9.50 ish net. Eight hours a day @ \$9-9.50ish gives about \$72-76. \$304 is “barely \$300”
Simples
£54 net a day isn’t poverty level

5. The total deductions would be less than \$2.50 on \$15.50 – not \$6. That includes taxes, FICA, and Medicare deductions.

6. she never stopped being classified as a temporary worker.

And out here there is not such thing as a ‘temporary’ worker. You’re either a contractor or an employee. Employees can be full or part time. They’re ‘temporary’ in the sense that you can be let go at any time because we have ‘at-will’ employment – and you can, of course, *leave* the job at any time too.

7. This [subcontracting] enabled companies like Walmart to deny responsibility for injuries, for which they’d otherwise be liable.

Surely the warehouse occupier is liable? If I visit a client or supplier site and something happens to me, the liability falls to the site occupier.

8. Andrew M

If not there, it would fall on the temp employer – they’ll be the ones providing the Workman’s Comp insurance.

9. “The” problem? The bint is stupid for confusing a true Temp Job you do while looking for something better with an actual career.

And if she kept at it that long in a temp environment and still hadn’t made “line supervisor” or “trainee instructor”, something tells me she just may have been …less than desireable… as a worker/employee.
More than a hunch, really, given the Boo-Hoo in the article.

10. Just to clarify US taxes.

Payroll/FICA (Social Security & Medicare) would be levied on wage earnings at 7.65%. So if a worker worked a 2,000 hour year at \$15.50 per hour, gross income would be \$31,000 with \$2,371.50 FICA tax withheld. FICA is really the main tax paid by lower income people in the US.

For Federal income tax, the Standard Deduction for a single filer is \$12,550 – that is the annual amount (0% tax rate), and is not pro-rated weekly/monthly or anything like that. The next ~\$10,000 of earnings is taxed at 10%. The next ~\$30,000 is taxed at 12%. So, if the gross was \$31,000, roughly \$2,000 in federal tax would be owed. FWIW, if she has one kid, that’s a \$3,000 credit, so she’d get a net \$1,000 federal income tax refund. For younger kids, the credit is \$3,600 each. A married couple with 3 or 4 kids could earn \$100k, and pay no federal income tax, while still qualifying for free ACA healthcare.

AFAIK, employers with >50 full-time employees (full-time = >30 hours per week) have to provide various benefits. Shockingly, employers choose to stay below the 50/30 thresholds.

11. Re: US Taxes.

She’s in Illinois. Anyone know what if any state income taxes there are? I suspect that for Illinois (since it contains Chicago) this amount is non-zero.

12. Flat 5% in Illinois. The Dems tried their best to amend the state constitution last election to bring in a progressive rate – which will only affect the rich, honest! – but even Illnois voters aren’t *that* stupid.

13. Based on Agammammon and Henry’s corrections, she’s working 6 hours a day (when she turns up and works a full day) for a little over \$75 after tax.
And she isn’t entitled to various benefits because she is working part-time.
She can afford to drive a car.
She occasionally doesn’t go to work; she’s got no savings – are the two related?