How having a salary can benefit a disabled person

There are two ways to get paid for a job; wage and salary. Depending on which industry you work in will determine which you get. As a person with a disability, I understand that many of us care more about securing employment and don’t really mind how we get paid. However, after working waged jobs for years, I’ve recently started a salaried position.

And trust me when I say there’s a difference. So, based on my experience, I’ve compiled a list of reasons I think salaried positions might be a better fit those of us with disabilities and neurodiversities.

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Some positives

  1. Consistent pay – Knowing what you’re earning each month means you can budget better and potentially have more to save. A report by disability charity Scope found that, on average, a disabled person spends an extra £550 a month on expenses.
  2. Benefits – Now, it’s standard to get holiday and pension contributions from wage jobs; however, when you take home a salary, you potentially get more benefits. Like a pay increase based on your performance or the ability to earn more holiday.
  3. Structured work hours – The hours are consistent. It might seem small, but it offers consistency and stability and allows you to take better care of yourself. Shift work used to cause me a lot of pain, but now I always know what I’m working I don’t have to monitor my spoons so much and I can use my energy where it matters.
  4. Flexible working – In the wake of the pandemic, we’re experiencing an uptick in hybrid and remote working. As I’ve discussed previously, this benefits everyone, not just those of us with disabilities. Remote and hybrid working offers more flexibility, a reduction in travel and a more accommodating workday.
  5. An accommodating workplace – It’s just an observation on my end. Still, I’ve noticed a trend in my friend group, those of us with disabilities working in salaried positions get their needs met a lot quicker. I know reasonable adjustments are practised across the board. However, I suspect there are a few factors expediting the process for salaried workers include having an HR department and access to more resources.
  6. The security – I feel a type of security in a salaried position that I haven’t felt in my wage positions. I feel less expendable. There’s a comfort and confidence that coincides with being paid what my experience and skills are worth.
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I’ve realised that, like with everything, there are some downsides to being paid a salary. For me, they centred around the way salaried pay works.

Things to consider

  1. No overtime – One thing I miss about hourly paid work is just that. I got paid for the hours I worked. However, with salaried positions, you get paid the same amount in a day, even if you stay late.
  2. Potential pay cuts – Salaries can be some of the first things that get cut if your company is experiencing financial difficulty. Don’t worry, though; this will never happen without warning.
  3. How you get paid – Wage jobs can be paid weekly or bi-weekly. However, salaried jobs typically get paid monthly. Whilst this shouldn’t cause long-term issues, it can make transitioning from one to the other difficult for the first month as you may find yourself short on money, so bear that in mind if you’re swapping to a new position.

Making a move to salaried employment can be daunting, but I feel the benefits of doing so outweigh the negatives.

I think salaried work offers more security with fixed hours and pay. I feel that makes my disability more manageable, as I’m no longer affected by the shortfalls of shift pattern work. It’s also flexible; I can pick which days I go into the office, meaning I can schedule appointments without taking time off.

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About Bua

Bua’s mission is to help give disabled and neurodiverse people the skills to break into the creative industry. Bua offers free, accessible courses allowing you to build a portfolio and enter creative work. Bua also consults with organisations.

About the author

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disabilities. Her goal is to share her story and others like it with passion and conviction.

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