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When You Can't Get a Pay Rise

When You Can't Get a Pay Rise

When You Can't Get a Pay Rise don’t simply throw in the towel, don’t resign your job.

Actually for many employees, getting a pay rise is completely off the table. However, this doesn’t have to be the last step in getting a better employment contract, especially if your benefits aren’t up to scratch. 

It’s frustrating when you’re doing everything you can at work, but no matter how much extra effort you put in, it seems like it’s not good enough. When the time comes to ask for a pay rise, you find out that your employer doesn’t think your work merits an increase in pay. But if you can’t get a pay rise, what can you do?

Maybe you could get more benefits out of your current contract without any additional financial burden on your employer? It can happen—if you know how to negotiate effectively! Here are some strategies that you can implement when you’re looking for alternative compensation options.

Negotiate for More Time Off 

If you aren’t able to get a raise at work, don’t feel like it’s game over. Instead, negotiate more time off with your employer in return for not asking for an actual increase in salary.

Focus on work/life balance. Say you want more time off or flexible working hours so that you can look after children or even do an online course. Once these are in place, negotiate for more money again next year.

Negotiate for Vacation Days 

Employees are usually stuck between getting a pay rise or some perks. If you’re not getting any traction with your boss, see if you can negotiate some additional benefits such as additional vacation days. While you may lose out on some salary, it’s worth considering to make sure that money isn’t going to waste, anyway.

Negotiate for Flexible working hours 

Maybe you can have more flexible hours? Maybe they can stop pressuring you to work weekends?

Flexible working hours are a great way for employers and employees to work together. Employers can provide their employees with part-time contracts or even job shares, and employees can have extra time at home while they take care of other obligations such as family.

Negotiate for Work From Home (or Not)

Working from home is great for many employees, but it comes with its downsides as well. In general, you should not work from home unless your job absolutely requires it. If that’s not true for you (for example, if your job involves a lot of traveling or long hours), then negotiate for working from home and see how well it works out.

Negotiate for Healthcare or Life insurance

It never hurts to ask! Alternatively, you could ask for additional benefits like healthcare or life insurance. 

Negotiate for Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Taking time out of your work week to brush up on your skills is one of those win-win situations that can benefit you in two ways: Not only do you get additional skills and knowledge, but more often than not, companies are willing to reimburse employees for some or all of these expenses.

Negotiate for Paid sick days

If your company doesn't pay for absent days due to sickness, this is a good one to negotiate for.

Negotiate for an Achievement Bonus

So many employers look at pay rises as linked to performance, which is fair enough. But if you can’t get one, or don’t want to ask for one, you could ask for an achievement bonus instead. While a pay rise is usually given as of right, it’s up to your employer whether or not they give you an achievement bonus.

Negotiate Your Own Computer Equipment

A lot of companies hand over all their computer equipment and software when you start working for them. However, if you work from home or get stuck in a situation where your employer doesn’t provide anything, you need to buy your own equipment so that you can work from home. And, with more and more employees working remotely these days, employers are aware of how important it is for employees to be able to do their jobs even when they aren’t at the office. So ask for your own equipment budget.


Generally If you’re having trouble getting your boss to approve your pay raise, consider negotiating some other kind of employment benefit instead. Depending on your company culture and communication with upper management, there may be certain benefits or perks you can ask for in exchange for dropping your request for more money. Whether it’s time off, health insurance benefits, or even stock options—you have some bargaining power as an employee if you come up with creative ideas.

Take notes of all your suggestions so that they can be easily remembered when you go back to your boss.


Contributed by: Henry Mubiru Kweba. 

Views expressed by contributors are their own.