Understanding your payslip

Updated on 2 June 2023


Not sure what your payslip should look like and what information it should hold? We provide you with an example and breakdown of a typical payslip.

Illustration of a payslip

You can find some basic information about payslips on GOV.UK. For information on the statements you should get if you work in the Construction Industry Scheme, see here.

⚠️ Note: Not all payslips look the same; however, they should all contain similar types of information.

Example payslip

Understanding your payslip 2273 by LITRG


Personal information, including name, National Insurance number (NINO) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Code


Payments including salary, wages, bonuses and overtime for the pay period


Deductions including income tax, National Insurance contributions (NIC) and personal pension contributions (if any) for the pay period


Amounts earned and deductions taken off for the tax year to date, including the current pay period. Note that in this example, we have assumed the employee earned different amounts each month, so the year to date totals are not simply three times the June amounts.


Net pay for the pay period: this is the amount you should actually receive. This is your earnings for the pay period less the deductions for the same period


Tax Reference: this is the employer's PAYE reference. Although it is not required by law, it is often included on a payslip. 


Hours worked: from April 2019, payslips are required to state number of hours being paid where wages vary according to time worked; either as an aggregate number of hours or as separate figures for different types of work (or rates of pay)

Sometimes payslips will show the amounts that your employer has paid in employer NIC for your information on your payslip – but it is not being deducted from your pay.

For help with demystifying the sometimes confusing payslip entries if you work through an umbrella company, see our working through an umbrella company factsheet.

What things should I be checking?

  • Are your name and National Insurance number correct?
  • Was the net pay sum actually paid to you? You may need to check your bank statement. If your net pay amount per your payslip and your net pay amount per your bank statement differ, do you understand why? If you don’t understand why, you should seek some advice from TaxAid.
  • Was the gross pay calculated correctly? You may need to check hours worked and the rate of pay.
  • What tax code is being applied to your earnings?
  • What deductions have been made other than tax and NIC? You should check that any other deductions have been properly authorised by you (If you are concerned that an unauthorised deduction has been made from your wages, you should look at GOV.UK.)

Although many payslips are provided online these days, which means they aren’t as easy to check on a regular basis, it is worth going in and checking them. Although your net pay may look roughly right, employers can make mistakes. These are not always easy to spot from just looking at your net pay amount. This will give you a better change of dealing with any issues or problems before they get out of hand.

If you do not have access to your payslips, provided that your employer submitted the relevant information to HMRC via Real Time Information (RTI), then you may be able to access the details via your Personal Tax Account.

Once you are logged in, you should click on ‘Pay As You Earn (PAYE)’, ‘Check current tax year’, ‘View or update employment details’ and then ‘Check payments received’ under ‘Income received to date’. You should then be able to view year to date figures for taxable income, income tax paid and National Insurance paid.

Keeping your payslips

Even after you have checked the net amount of pay against your bank statement or pay packet, you should keep your payslips to ensure the totals shown on form P60 at the end of the tax year agree with the sums actually paid. After that, there is no need to keep your payslips for tax purposes, but bear in mind that you may need to produce payslips if you apply for a loan, for example.

If your employer provides you with electronic payslips, you should try and ensure you download these and keep separate copies in case one day, you no longer have access to them via your employer’s online payroll system.

What if I didn’t receive a payslip?

You have a legal right to an itemised payslip every pay day (this right exists for both employees and 'workers').

⚠️ Please note: This right exists even if you don’t earn enough money for there to be any deductions made.

You can find out more on GOV.UK.

Tax guides

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