Not sure what your payslip should look like and what information it should contain? We provide you with an example and breakdown of a typical payslip. We also discuss being paid in cash.
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It is a legal requirement for your employer to give you, as an employee, a payslip each payday. How often you get a payslip will depend on how often you are paid. It is usually weekly or monthly.
If you are a worker, you also have a legal right to an itemised payslip every pay day. You can read more about what it means to be a ‘worker’ on our page Employment status. This right exists even if you don’t earn enough money for there to be any deductions made.
The payslip can be a paper form or in electronic form, for example a PDF file.
The payslip must show several things, by law. The main ones are:
- your gross wages (the amount before anything is taken off)
- the income tax and NIC deducted under PAYE, any other fixed deductions from gross pay (suitably itemised)
- the number of hours you worked (if your pay varies depending on time worked)
- your net wages (the payment you receive).
It may also show your National Insurance number (NINO), your PAYE code (more on this below), your employer’s PAYE reference, and how you will be paid - for example, in cash, by cheque or directly to your bank. You can find more information from ACAS.
You should check the personal information on your payslip carefully – we discuss this in more detail below under the heading Checking your payslip.
Understanding your payslip
Note that not all payslips look the same, but they should all contain similar types of information.
|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 payment you should 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 should not be deducted from your pay.
For help with understanding the payslip entries if you work through an umbrella company, see our guidance for umbrella company workers.
Checking your payslip
Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking at your payslip. These will help you check that your payslip is correct.
- Are your name and National Insurance number correct?
- Was the gross pay calculated correctly? You may need to check hours worked and the rate of pay. You should also satisfy yourself that you are being paid at least the appropriate national minimum wage.
- 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.
- What tax code is being applied to your earnings?
You should also carefully check any deductions that have been made. As well as tax and NIC, you may see:
- pension contributions, if you are a member of a workplace scheme, including schemes introduced as a result of auto-enrolment,
- student loan repayments, and
- anything else that you have authorised your employer to deduct (for example costs of disclosure checks, uniforms, or union costs).
If you are concerned that an unauthorised deduction has been made from your wages (an unauthorised deduction can include not receiving any of the pay you were expecting at all), you should look at GOV.UK and ACAS.
Although many payslips are now provided online, 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. Checking your payslip will give you a better chance 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 NIC 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.
Some employers password-protect payslips that they have sent for security, and some have an online secure storage facility where they make your payslips available. We know it is easy to forget log in details and passwords, but make sure you can access your payslips and do go in and check them regularly rather than just relying on the amount of net pay you receive being about right. This will help you spot if there are any problems with the way your employer is dealing with your pay and taxes. If you leave a job, make sure you download copies of all your electronic payslips before you leave as you may be unable to access them after you have left.
Being paid in cash
As an employee, you may be paid in cash. However, this does not affect whether you are liable to tax and NIC on your earnings.
You should always receive a payslip each time you are paid, even if you are paid in cash.
Your employer should still take off the right amount of income tax and NIC under PAYE, and hand this over to HMRC before paying you what is left.
Most employers in the UK now pay their employees by bank transfer, although some employers continue to pay in cash.
It is possible that an employer may wish to pay their employees in cash so that they can try to avoid their obligations under PAYE (deducting tax, NIC and paying employers’ NIC). They may not pay over any income tax and NIC to HMRC, to save money – this is illegal.
It is important to be aware of the following:
- If your employer fails to meet their obligations under PAYE, HMRC can demand the income tax and NIC from you later in certain circumstances.
- If your employer does not pay over NIC to HMRC for you, you may lose out on state benefits.
It is likely that your employer will not provide you with payslips if they are trying to avoid their obligations under PAYE.
If your employer does not give you a payslip each payday, you should ask for one.
Employer acting illegally
If you think your employer is acting illegally you should report them to HMRC. You can find more information on GOV.UK.
If you receive cash payments for work that you carry out as a self-employed person, then the payments are taxable. You must include them when working out your taxable profits for your self-employment and declare them in your annual self assessment tax return.
There is some information on payslips on GOV.UK.
For information on the statements you should get if you work in the Construction Industry Scheme, see our page Construction industry scheme (CIS).