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Asking for a raise during the pandemic? Experts say it's about reading the room

Posted at 3:41 PM, Aug 27, 2020

We're in some strange times right now and it may be hard to tell if it's appropriate to ask for a raise at work. Career experts say it's all about reading the room.

“If your company has decided to freeze bonuses and they've laid off or furloughed people, you should still have a conversation with your boss about where that means your compensation will currently be, but you may not go into a nitty gritty negotiation conversation,” said Vicki Salemi, a career expert at

If your company is doing well, has been able to keep employees, and has offered different work from home options, then it's fair game to begin negotiating with your manager.

Make sure you walk into the conversation informed, though. Do your research on what someone with your experience and your location should make.

And most importantly, don't start this conversation over email. Simply ask your manager if they have 15 minutes for a video chat and talk to them face to face.

In the case where maybe a raise isn't possible right now, be open to negotiating about perks instead.

“In addition to compensation, you can ask for additional personal time and perhaps you can also ask for extended working from home arrangements, after the pandemic or different arrangements, where you can have different things reimbursed to you that they previously didn't approve,” said Salemi.

If both a raise and perks are denied, see if there's a chance those could happen later. If not, experts say it could be time to start looking for a job outside the company that will pay you your worth.