What Is the Wage for an Entry-Level Payroll Clerk?


Payroll and timekeeping clerks play an important role in maintaining the accuracy and on-time delivery of paychecks to workers nationwide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 180,000 of these payroll and timekeeping clerks were employed in various industries throughout the United States in 2010. Wages for clerks vary by location and employer. Entry-level wages were typically less than half of the wage earned by the top earners in this field.

Entry-Level Pay

  • Payroll and timekeeping clerks earned an average wage of $17.82 per hour, or $37,070 per year in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, this wage reflects the pay for both experienced and inexperienced workers in the field and not just entry-level employees. Those at the bottom of the pay scale earned $11.42 or less per hour, or approximately $23,750 per year. Those in the lower one-fourth of the pay scale earned less than $14.16 per hour, or about $29,450 annually.

Earning Potential

  • Despite the low entry-level pay for this field, the earning potential for payroll clerks is substantially greater. The BLS indicates that the median wage for those working in this field was $17.47 per hour, as of 2010, or a salary of $36,330. Those in the upper one-fourth of the pay scale earned salaries of $44,230 or more per year. This computes to a wage of approximately $21.27 per hour. The highest-paid clerks made more than $25 per hour which was more than $52,010 annually.


  • Pay for payroll clerks generally varies by employer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports pay for payroll clerks by employer in terms of average salaries. According to the bureau, the largest group of these clerks worked in the accounting services field making an average wage of $17.65 per hour. Those employed in local government agencies brought home an average hourly wage of $18.85. This was similar to the pay earned by those in elementary and secondary schools who made $18.43 per hour. The highest-paid clerks worked for the postal service, bringing home an average wage of $26.08 per hour.


  • Where the payroll clerk works also plays a role in determining how much she can expect to be paid. According to the BLS, the highest paid workers in this field were employed in the District of Columbia, earning an average wage of $25.26 per hour in 2010. Those working in Alaska, Massachusetts, Connecticut and California were also among the highest paid payroll clerks, bringing home average wages in excess of $19.67 per hour. In Texas and New York, payroll clerks only made $16.88 and $18.72 per hour, respectively.


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