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How Much is Hazard Pay?

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What You Need to Know About Hazard Pay

Some jobs involve sitting on a cushy chair in a temperature-controlled office with a paper cut as the biggest danger. But others put you in harm's way every day. As a working mom, taking a job that's potentially dangerous is a little scary. You want to know your kids are provided for in case something should happen to you. Even if you know what you're getting into when you accept a job with the potential for hazard pay, knowing you'll be compensated a bit more makes the threat easier to handle.

What Is Hazard Pay?

Hazard pay is an extra payment on top of your regular salary to compensate for hazardous working conditions. Some workers get hazard pay if the working conditions cause extreme discomfort or distress, especially if the effects of those conditions can't be reduced with protective gear or other modifications. The extra pay is compensation when your job duties could cause serious injury or death.

How Does Hazard Pay Work?

No laws exist that say an employer must pay hazard pay, so it's up to individual employers to decide whether to offer it. Sometimes, the extra pay comes about through collective bargaining rather than the employer offering it freely. The terms of the benefit and how the employer implements it can also vary since no laws govern it.

Hazard pay usually goes on top of the regular hourly wage. It typically only applies to the actual hours in which you work in the hazardous conditions. If only 25 percent of your workload puts you in difficult situations, you may only get the extra pay on that portion of your paycheck. You get paid your regular hourly rate for the other 75 percent of your paycheck.

If your employer offers hazard pay for your position, work with HR to find out which circumstances qualify for the extra payment. You also need to know how to track the hours based on the job duties at the time.

How Much Is Hazard Pay?

Employers handle all aspects of hazard pay, including how much you get, so the best source of information for specific figures is your company. The extra amount might be a percentage of your base salary. If you get a 20 percent supplement and your base pay is $25 per hour, you get an extra $5 per hour when you qualify for hazard pay. So your total hourly rate during those hazardous work conditions is $30. Some companies might set a flat rate for hazard pay. Your years of service can also impact how much you get for hazard pay. The longer you work for the company, the more money you might make for hazard pay.

Who Gets Hazard Pay?

No set industries have to offer hazard pay, but jobs that tend to come with dangerous work conditions are more likely to qualify. Some conditions that may qualify workers for hazard pay include:

  • Hostile zones
  • War zones
  • High-crime areas
  • Extreme weather
  • Heavy pollution
  • Fumes, dust or noise
  • High work areas
  • Mines
  • Construction sites

If your work duties put you at a high risk of serious injury or death, you may qualify for hazard pay. For example, construction employees who work in very dangerous conditions might get hazard pay. Sometimes your work location is the aspect that qualifies you for extra pay due to danger. People who work in countries in the Middle East or areas with potential dangers to health and safety might get a bump in pay.

Choosing a job that puts you in harm's way is often a calling. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't receive fair compensation for that risk. Review the hazard pay policy before accepting a dangerous assignment to find out how much you receive and how it's paid.