I'm hoping someone can help me with this... I took my first travel assignment in DC recently and have been asked to extend my contract. My recruiter asked me why I didn't take any of the per diem benefits on my last contract. I told her I thought I had and it was in my hourly wage. She states no and she'll fix it for the new contract so I "see a little more take home pay". Since they provided housing and I am not receiving the per-diem currently that means my entire $39/hr ($58.50/hr OT) wage stated in my contract is taxed currently, right? Am I correct in my understanding that any per-diem I'm getting on the next contract will be in ADDITION to my current base salary? I'm also considering asking for the stipend too. The max per diem for this area is $71 M&IE and $183-$226 for lodging. How can I negotiate getting the max allowable and does anybody ever get it and maintain that base pay?
Thank you in advance for any input you can provide!
Jan 2, '13
What agency are you with? Some agencies will only pay a maximum daily per diem regardless of what the GSA rates are. AMN comes to mind.
You will receive your hourly rate as stated in your contract which should be your hourly taxable wage then you will receive your daily per diem (for EVERY day and not just days your work) that will be non-taxed money.
Look at your new contract though...it should spell out your hourly rate and then your daily per diem.
Jan 8, '13
I think you will probably make more take home pay if you accept your recruiter's suggestion to take per dime benefits. $39 an hour sounds great, which is what I was offered if I chose to get my own housing. I took the per dime benefits and now only get $22 per hour. Sounds like a lot less, but when I think about the money I'm taking home monthly which is non taxable, that's where you can make the money. The overtime hourly rate sounds good too, but usually you get taxed like crazy on overtime. Wouldn't you rather just receive a weekly, tax-free bonus so to speak? If it doesn't work in your favor you can always renegotiate on your next contract.
Jan 9, '13
Yes, your entire hourly is taxed. No, the per diem will not be on top of the old hourly, it will be on top of the new reduced hourly. The two amounts together will likely be a bit less than your total hourly now, but your take home should be higher. That's the whole point, right?
About your OT rate, have you been getting any overtime? If not, don't worry about it. But you can always ask to keep the same OT rate. It doesn't cost them a cent more than it does now. Sometimes there are technical difficulties, for example payroll companies that can only pay exactly 1.5 times a base rate. Some agencies end up having to pay a bonus on overtime to bring it back up.
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