Paying Your Remote Workers

PAYING YOUR Remote workers

They delivered the goods. They completed the hours. They did as they were instructed.

Now, it’s time for you to pay them. The question is how.

We know that this is a super elementary topic for some of you, especially if you already outsourced to remote workers in the past. However, this is a must-read for first-time outsourcers. In fact, even if you have experience in paying remote workers in the past, you will learn a few tips here.


This is a topic that outsourcers can’t seem to agree on. In order for you to gauge a “fair wage” for your remote workers, you have to understand the local context.

The first step to answering this question is knowing who gets paid the minimum wage in the local employment context. Remote workers who receive the minimum wage are those who are working in construction, in factories, as messengers – essentially those who are involved in manual and physical labor.


The answer is yes and no. Yes, because you wouldn’t get the savings as opposed to when you’d follow the prescribed minimum wage. No, because you would still bank savings as opposed to when you hire someone in-shore.

However, when deciding how much you should invest on your remote worker’s salary, you should not solely base it on the money you’re spending, but more importantly, the quality of the people you’re getting.

What a lot of savings-focused virtual employers don’t realize is the fact that when hiring remote workers, you only get what you pay for. Low quality comes with a low-price tag. Experienced and talented remote workers know their worth and they wouldn’t settle for anything less than what they think they deserve.

But let’s say someone extremely competent and talented took your low-ball job offer. Human instinct dictates that when you’re not earning enough, you look for greener pastures. What do you think will happen when one day, another virtual employer approaches your worker and offers a higher salary commensurate to his or her talent?

Your remote worker will leave you without thinking twice.

To be perfectly honest, off-shore remote workers have had their fair share of virtual employers who milk their workers up to the last drop and pay extremely low salaries. At this point, it’s no longer a matter of savings on your end, but an issue of ethics. Do you want to be the employer that is known for paying a fair wage that can be relied on or the employer who is known for pinching pennies and expecting results that exceed what you are paying for?

Remember, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.


Technically, you’re not required to follow the country’s labor code, so the technical answer is you don’t have to. However, as more employers are looking to hire off-shore remote workers, the job offers are getting more competitive as well.

Now, you don’t have to compete with these employers head-on, but we just want you to know what you’re up against. Also, expect that job applicants will ask you about these things and you should have an answer for them.

Here’s our tip. If you can’t afford these additional benefits, don’t give them. As long as you’re paying your remote workers a fair salary, you’re good. They won’t bug you about these benefits either when you already made it clear that you can’t afford these extra benefits – at least not yet.


The easiest way to pay your remote worker is through PayPal. It’s secure, it’s hassle-free and it’s tried and tested. In fact, if you believe that PayPal will be your exclusive payment method, it’s wise to put it in your job ad (i.e. Applicants should be able to receive PayPal payments).

However, there will be times that applicants won’t have a PayPal account because they don’t have the necessary requirements to open a bank account that they can use with electronic transactions. Other methods include Remithome and you can even send the money electronically through couriers such as Western Union. There are also paid services that allow the employer to actually issue your staff or your team cards that they can use to withdraw their salary using ATMs in their own country

One quick note when paying your remote workers using PayPal. As you know, PayPal charges a certain fee when you’re sending money. Many employers actually charge this fee against their employees’ salaries. You will rarely see remote workers complain about this, but it’s definitely an issue.

First, why are you charging them these fees when it should be part of your operational expense? At the end of the day, why are remote workers paying to get paid? Also, the amount being deducted is not that huge, but it’s not pennies as well. For instance, for a $250 dollar transaction, PayPal would charge around $10, so your worker would receive $240. For you, $10 might not be a big deal, but for your worker, it may be.

WHEN SHOULD YOU PAY YOUr remote workers?

Remote workers usually get paid every 15th and 30th of the month, or essentially, every two weeks. This is why it would be difficult for them to adjust to a once a month payment schedule. If you can pay them every 15th and 30th or any iteration of such as long as the payments are two weeks apart, you would have no problem. But some remote workers have actually turned down jobs because of a once-a-month payment schedule.

During the 30-Day Trial Period, we suggest you pay your worker weekly. This is because the relationship is still brand new and many workers may not feel comfortable working two weeks for a new employer without receiving a paycheck.

No matter what payment schedule you agreed on with your remote worker, there’s only one golden rule –

Pay on time.

There’s nothing that worries remote workers more than an employer who sends their paycheck late. It raises a lot of red flags when you pay your staff late including:

– “Is this person scamming me?”
– “Will this person always pay late?”
– “Is he paying late now and won’t pay at all in the future?”
– “Is his business not earning enough so he can’t pay me on time?”
– “Will I still have a job tomorrow?”

You also have to understand that most remote workers don’t have cash stashed away. Financial literacy is not that great in many off-shore countries and most people are living paycheck to paycheck. Pay them late and it might mean they don’t have money for food for the day or even miss their rent payment.

Also, take into consideration that if you’re paying them using PayPal, it will take three to four days for the money to get transferred to their account. If you pay late, it can set back their finances and budgets by several days.

Most importantly, paying late will cause distrust between you and your remote workers. This increases the chances that the first opportunity that they get to leave you, they’ll take it without thinking twice.

Pay on time – we can’t emphasize this enough.


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