More than half the U.S. workforce has experienced a problem with their paycheck during their career, according to new estimates.

The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. estimated 82 million Americans have experienced payroll problems. It polled 1,013 U.S. adults and found 54 percent of them have had a paycheck problem while being paid as a salaried, hourly, freelance or contract worker.

Twenty-six percent of hourly workers said they have been paid too little, while 15 percent said they have been paid late. Only 6 percent said they have been overpaid.

Paycheck problems chart

Among salaried employees, 15 percent indicated they have been shortchanged on a paycheck. Sixteen percent reported being paid late, while 23 percent said they have been paid early.

Nine percent of the poll respondents said they have had a paycheck bounce. Overall, the study estimates, at least 10.6 million workers have had a paycheck bounce.

Twenty percent of freelance, contract and “gig economy” workers said they have been paid late, 20 percent said they have been paid too little, and 16 percent said they’ve had their paycheck direct-deposited into the wrong account.

The survey found 42 percent of all employees said taxes and deductions on their paychecks are confusing to read and understand. Year-end tax forms also confuse workers. Half the poll respondents said they are confident they have never experienced a problem with documents such as W-2 forms, but 35 percent of them admitted they have had problems and mistakes, and another 15 percent admitted they do not understand their tax forms enough to even recognize an error.

Forty-five percent of the workers polled said they would feel more engaged with their job if their employer helped them better understand the impact of taxes and deductions on their overall earnings.

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.