COVID Pay Cut? Top 3 Negotiation Questions Answered

Question 1: If my salary gets cut, can I negotiate for other perks?

  • Do NOT ask for anything in exchange right now. Be grateful you kept your employment and sensitive to the fact that almost everybody around you has taken a cut, been furloughed, or let go.
  • DO ask how you can help with additional assignments without expecting further compensation (unless you are hourly where overtime pay is a legal requirement).

Question 2: My salary has not been cut, but I am due for a salary increase. Can I still ask for it?

  • DO proceed with professional and well thought out negotiations.

Step 1: Write out your request providing your rationale and how much you are seeking. The rationale should be tied to your exceptional business competencies, how you are going above and beyond especially during COVID, facts about your job, and any scope increase of your role from X to Y.

Your rationale should exclude emotions, describing what is “fair,” or referencing anybody else on your team. Write this as a well-formatted WORD document that your manager can forward to their management team.

Step 2: Request a 30-minute meeting with your manager to discuss your career growth. Do not say what the meeting is about, specifically. Do not go to anybody before your direct manager, including HR.

Step 3: During the meeting, do not discuss job-related tasks. Take control of the meeting and read from your document. Do not go off-topic and wander away from your key points. If they comment, take notes, and do not debate. Just because they give reasons why a salary increase is difficult at this time does not mean it is impossible. Stay positive.

Close: Do not ask for an answer right now! Invite them to consider this request and review all the points you made. Ask them, “May I set up another conversation like this in X weeks?” Be patient and know this is a process. I recommend an 8-week follow up, then in another eight weeks after that. However, ask your manager what a reasonable follow up is to them.

Question 3: What are other creative job perks that I can ask for?

  • Flex hours, such as Friday afternoons off (yet made up with other working hours) is an example. Ongoing work from home is another example.
  • Follow the negotiation steps above: Write out your request and the rationale. Highlight your commitment to your job and the company, and then ask for the perk.
  • Only ask for one thing. Overwhelming your manager will lead to a “no.”
  • Repeat: Ask your direct manager only.

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