Homework Help

What does "per diem" mean in regards to salary for employment? I'm looking for a job. I...

user profile pic

pbrayley | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 3, 2009 at 12:34 AM via web

dislike 4 like

What does "per diem" mean in regards to salary for employment?

I'm looking for a job. I need to know what a job ad means when they say the position is "per diem."

7 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 3, 2009 at 1:08 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 4 like

The phrase "per diem" means "per day" or "by the day."

In terms of jobs, if the position itself is "per diem" it probably means that it is not steady work.  Instead, they will, at best, be hiring you on days when they need you (sort of like substitute teaching would be).

Per diem can also refer to payments that you get in addition to your regular pay.  For example, if you go off to an assignment somewhere out of town, your employer might give you a per diem for food and lodging.

But it sounds like the first definition is more applicable in your case.

user profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted November 3, 2009 at 1:14 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 4 like

"Per diem" is a phrase taken from Latin meaning per day. It refers to the method of calculating wages to employees or other payments such as fees for consultants.

Payment of wages are calculated on different basis such as per hour, per day, per week and per month. In addition, to these different methods of payment based on time put in on work, The payment can also be on piece rate basis. This means payment based on quantity of work done.

Generally wages are paid per diem basis for temporary, short term asignments rather tah for regular long term jobs.

user profile pic

flprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 14, 2012 at 5:54 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 3 like

"Per Diem" can have a few meanings when it comes to employment.  The literal translation from the Latin is "per day," and refers to any type of pay or reimbursement that is made by the day.

In general, but not always, per diem work is short-term, temporary work, although there can be exceptions.

If this is a GSA job, you can check the per diem rate here: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287.

Jobs in health care, especially to cover a fulltime employee on leave, are often paid per diem -- you receive a set amount for each day you work.

user profile pic

discussion1984 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:14 PM (Answer #4)

dislike 3 like


"Per" in Latin means "through." "Diem" is the accusative, male, singular form of "dies," which means "day." So, put together, that would mean "Through day." If you're talking about work and wages, it would probably mean you get paid day by day.

user profile pic

pumamom | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:34 AM (Answer #6)

dislike 2 like

I work at a hospital, and per diem means that a person is available so many times a month to work a shift.  Per Diem employees do not get any benefits so their hourly salary is a little higher than a person that works full-time and has benefits.

user profile pic

drnichols | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 29, 2013 at 7:36 PM (Answer #7)

dislike 2 like

It's Latin which translates into "per day". Many organizations in an attempt to hold the line on business costs will offer their employees traveling on business a per diem. They can only spend so much money each day they are away. An example would be: Fay has to leave Dallas to go on business for her company. While in DC. she's told that she has a per diem of $125 which could break down into $25 for breakfast, $40 for lunch and $60 for dinner. That's all she's allowed to spend of the company's money per day, if she spends any at all.


user profile pic

popan006 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted February 8, 2013 at 6:09 PM (Answer #5)

dislike 1 like

through the day

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes