Understanding what's on your payslip

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In the UK, payday is almost celebrated as if it were a bank holiday and modern challenger banks, such as Monzo, have even started sending out specific "payday notifications". However, once the money is safely stored in our bank accounts, very few of us actually spend the time to consult what is printed on our payslip.

Below is a typical payslip and much of the information it contains will also be present on some of your most recent payslips. But how much of it do you actually understand?

A typical payslip.

A typical payslip.

You may well be a bit of a payslip expert; however, a recent study suggested that only 6 out of every 10 UK adults understood the entire contents of their payslip.

So, in this short piece, we will go through what your payslip contains, what can vary from month-to-month, and why keeping all your payslips nice and safe is so important.

What’s on your payslip?

Right, let’s start with the basics. Every week or month, depending on when your employer pays you, you will receive a payslip that contains five pieces of crucial information.

1. Gross pay: This is the amount of money paid before any net deductions but after any salary sacrifice deductions.

Gross pay.

Gross pay.

2. Net pay: This is the amount of money received once the deductions have been taken into account. 

Net pay.

Net pay.

3. Deductions: This is the amount of any deductions that may vary from payday to payday. These are known as variable deductions and include tax, National Insurance and pension contributions.  

Within the deductions element, there may also be an area titled fixed deductions. These deductions are fixed and don’t ever change from payday to payday - e.g. union fees. However, they do not have to be shown separately on your payslip as long as your employer provides a separate statement with these deductions once a year.



4. Payment method: How the money has been paid - e.g. via bank transfer, cash, cheque, etc.

Payment method.

Payment method.

5. Hours worked: If you are paid at an hourly rate, your payslip must show how many hours you've worked in order to receive the sum stated on the payslip. If you receive an annual salary, then you will not see this on your payslip except in the situation where you work overtime.

Hours worked.

Hours worked.

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What else can you find on a payslip?

There may well be various other bits of information displayed on your payslip; however, this is often dependent on whether or not your employer chooses to display it and/or whether you’re eligible.

  • Details such as your personal information - e.g. name and home address may be shown, as could a payroll number, providing that your company uses that sort of method. The date which the money is due in your account is often shown too.
  • Tax information, including the tax period and your personal tax code, is frequently present on payslips, as is your National Insurance (NI) number.
  • Information relating to student loan repayments can be present on payslips. HMRC will often inform employers on how to work out and deduct the correct amount from your pay.
  • The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can also request a Deduction from Earnings Order (DEOs) for the maintenance of a child. If these orders are made for deductions, employers are permitted to charge a £1 administration fee; however, the charge can only be made if a deduction or partial deduction is actually made.
  • Court orders can be included too. These deductions come directly from your pay and are generally due to unpaid fines or debt repayments that are due to creditors. Court orders are also liable to a £1 administration fee.
  • Sick pay is another variable that is often present on payslips. Typically, sick pay depends on how much time you have off as well as the company’s sick leave policy. All employers are required to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re absent from work for four or more days in a row. Depending on the contract that you have, you may also be entitled to occupational sick pay.
  • Maternity, paternity and adoption pay is a big issue within many companies. If you’re a mother and are off because you’ve just given birth, you will receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). This will be present on your payslip. You may also receive maternity pay; however, this is likely to be shown separately. Paternity pay works in much the same way.
  • If your company provides health insurance or meal vouchers, these may well be listed on your payslip and are also likely to affect your tax code. Season ticket loans or other travel schemes - e.g. cycle to work, may also be displayed.
  • A year-to-date summary of your earnings may also be visible. If so, it will likely show how much tax, National Insurance contributions (NICs), student loans and pension contributions have been paid.

🔐 Keep it safe!

Apart from showing all of the above information, a payslip can also act as an important tool when looking to provide proof of earnings for any self-assessments - e.g. mortgage applications or loan requests.

🔐 Keep your payslip safe!

🔐 Keep your payslip safe!

Because a payslip can have many uses, it really is crucial that it is understood properly to highlight any potential issues or mistakes with your employer.
Therefore, it’s pretty clear that a payslip can contain a lot of vital information, and it goes without saying that they should all be kept in a safe and secure place.

What about PayFit?

All UK companies are required to keep payroll information for the current tax year as well as the three previous tax years.
Generally, companies are encouraged not to keep information for longer than they are required to do so by law. This is because it may infringe general data protection regulations (GDPR).

The same GDPR rules apply to PayFit; however, the nature of the software means that employees have far more control and flexibility over their payslips.

Interested in finding out more about the ways that PayFit can help you with your payroll processes? Then why not book a demo with one of our product specialists today? 


PayFit blog author


Content Marketing Coordinator

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