Bellringer: Write on the whiteboard, Students write a brief summary of the message about this song, "She Worked Hard For The Money," by Donna Summer.
Was a paycheck important to the person in this song? How long would you work with no compensation? Are there any situations where training programs would be worth not receiving pay for a job?
Students watch excerpts from the video, The Pursuit of Happyness. This movie is based on a true story about a man named Christopher Gardner. Gardner had invested heavily in a device known as a "Bone Density Scanner." These scanners do not sell. During the process of unsuccessfully selling these scanners his wife leaves him, he loses his house, his bank account, and credit cards. Forced to live in the streets with his son, he is desperate to find a job. He takes a job as a stockbroker even though he receives no pay for his six months of training. Why is he willing to work without pay for six months?
Reading a Paycheck
Place students in heterogeneous groups of four with male-female, high and low academic achievers. Students create a puzzle of the terms pertinent to reading a paycheck. Use the websites Discovery Education Puzzlemaker, Puzzlemaker, or Create a Puzzle. A list of terms and the definitions is attached to this lesson. Students may create a word search or puzzle. Make a copy and share with classmates.
Optional activity: Play the game Where Did All The Earnings Go? at the Family Economics and Financial Education web site. This uses the twister game with questions relevant to reading a paycheck.
Forms to Fill Out To Receive a Paycheck
W-4 Employees Withholding Allowance Certificate. Information provided on this form determines the percentage of gross pay to be withheld from the paycheck. Students practise filling out a W-4 form by clicking on this link.
I-9 Employment Elgibilty Verification Form. This is a form for employers to verify the elgibility of individuals for employment. This is to insure preventing hiring undocumented workers or inelgible people to work in the United States. Students practise filling out an I-9 form by clicking on the web link.
Method of Paying an Employee
Paycheck with a Paystub is where the employee can immediately see the deductions taken out of the paycheck. It is the most common method of payment. It is the least secure, since an employee has to deposit it in their personal account.
Direct Deposit is where employer deposits the employees paycheck directly into the authorized financial depository institution account. On payday the employee gets a written statement listing deductions. This method is more secure.
Payroll Card is where the employer provides a prepaid card to employees as an alternative to the paper paycheck. Most payroll cards are smart cards which have money automatically loaded onto them each pay period, with funds deducted from the account each time a purchase is made. The account is held at a financial institution in the employers name with the smart card belonging to the employee.There is always 3 parties involved in a payroll card account.
Ask students which form of payment they would prefer and why?
Reading A Paycheck Stub
Students fill out the attached "Money Skills," worksheet Read and Interpret a Pay Stub to develop a better understanding of net income compared to gross income. This also emphasizes the taxes that are removed from a paycheck.
Brainstorm as a class how the taxes are used that are deducted from paychecks. Use the Internet to visualize the sites of parks, post offices, schools, and highways.
Summarize this lesson by discussing the Essential Questions in the Additional Learning Objectives section.