In order to help in future salary negociation, I wanted to know whether it is condiered normal in North America to be quoted a gross salary that does not take into account employer contributions to things such as a a mandatory pension plan.
Specific example situation
This question is based on a situation I am experiencing right now, so I will use this to illustrate more specifically what I mean. I have just accepted a postdoc position (in a Canadian university, in case this is relevant), for which my advisor offered a salary of $40,000.
He wanted me to start working very quickly and I was available, so I started working without having signed my contract. Two weeks after, he explained that the work contrat was ready, and that the amount I would see in it (ca. $36,000) was the $40,000 he had quoted minus the contributions towards the pension plan and group insurance.
It was not obvious to me whether the deducted contributions were my contributions, i.e. $36,000 minus withheld tax would be my net income, or whether he had deducted the employer contributions and my net income would therefore be $36,000 minus my own contributions minus withheld tax.
I sent an email asking just that, and my advisor came to my office, slightly on the defensive I thought, to explain that the grant he had for my salary covered only $40,000 per year in total but that he had decided he would pay for the employer deductions with money from a different grant, and therefore that a new contract would be drafted.
And here I am, wondering whether there was an honest mistake or misunderstanding, whether I'm being a diva and my advisor just doesn't want to deal with it, or whether someone has tried to screw me.
Your answers will help me address this concern but mostly, as I wrote, will be helpful to me and I suspect to others in knowing exactly how to negociate their salary in the future.
And before anyone tells me, I do realise that I am getting an adequate salary in the current conditions and that I should consider myself lucky to have a pension plan and group insurance.