Messi Makes a Minimum-Wage Worker’s Annual Salary in 53 Minutes


Why eliminating timesheet guesswork is as important for World Cup athletes as it is for the average Joe


2018 Fifa World Cup logoThis week kicked off the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where almost half of the world’s population is expected to tune in to the quadrennial soccer tournament, with FIFA banking on $5.66 billion in revenue.

It would be impossible to talk about the World Cup without mentioning its stars. Names like Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Bale, and Pique inspire soccer players around the world, and it’s easy to see why. This year, the combined annual wages of these top players is expected to be around $502 million (£374.5 million). So in celebrating the world’s most popular sporting event, here’s a perspective on the danger of guesswork when time is money and seconds truly matter.


A minimum-wage employee versus Lionel Messi

When we talk about professional athletes, we don’t typically associate them with an hourly wage. In 2017, Lionel Messi became the highest paid soccer player when he inked a new contract with FC Barcelona. The figures in his contract included an $835 million buyout clause, a $59.6 million signing bonus, an annual salary of $133 million, and weekly earnings of $667,000.

To put that in perspective, the federal minimum wage in the US is $7.25 an hour, and there are currently 21 states upholding this number. For someone working full-time on that wage, it comes up to $15,080 a year, pre-tax. If Lionel Messi was an hourly employee at his current position and expected to put in 40 hours every week, his hourly rate would be $16,675. This means he would earn more than the average minimum-wage employee in the US just 53.5 minutes after clocking in.



On the flip side, it would take a minimum-wage employee in the U.S. 44 years to earn the Argentinian’s weekly wage. If an employee had started in 1974, he or she would be almost finished — except, in 1974, the minimum wage was $2 and the average annual income was $13,900.

But to earn Messi’s annual wage, a minimum-wage employee would have to work for 8,355 years. This means he or she would have needed to start in 6337 BC. Ridiculous, we know. Curious what the world was like then? It was the end of the Ice Age. Mastodons roamed the Americas, while rice and sheep were first domesticated in China.


Wage theft versus time theft

Time theft is the act of taking payment for hours not worked. Wage theft, on the other hand, occurs when employers underpay workers and violate Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations. Neither one is conducive to fostering a healthy, trusting work environment, however unintentional the acts might be. And even soccer players aren’t immune to this.

While Messi was celebrating his $133 million annual salary, Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista Herrera was suing the Chicago Mustangs, an American professional indoor soccer team in Illinois for $75,000 in unpaid wages. Think that’s paltry considering the number we’ve been throwing at you?

A 2017 survey found around half of US employees admit to adding between 15 and 60 minutes to their timesheets. Looking at half of America’s weekly timesheets, then adding just 15 minutes a day could result in $11 billion of unworked time. Now that’s a figure even Messi would look twice at.


So why guess when you can be sure?

Whether you’re in construction or professional sports, time remains the one true dominator, and with the availability and affordability of mobile time tracking, accuracy is no longer a luxury. While Messi isn’t clocking in and out before and after every game, we’re willing to bet our firstborns that if he did, he would not be a fan of guesswork when it comes to his paychecks.


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