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."

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

krishna-agrawala | Student

"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.

discussion1984 | Student


"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.

drnichols | Student

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.

pumamom | Student

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.

popan006 | Student

through the day

ulmerl | Student

The term "per diem" is Latin for "each day." Typically, per diem refers to a set daily rate that an employer provides to cover expenses. If the position involves travel, per diem pay is often used to cover expenses like the cost of food when one is away from home and/or the cost of a night's stay in a hotel.

I used to be a flight attendant, and in addition to an hourly wage, I was also assigned a daily per diem rate for any overnight trips. This was an added bonus the company offered to cover the cost of eating meals away from home. 

Another use of per diem pay is to cover the cost of entertaining clients, which might included business lunches or tickets to events.