Payslips are given on or before the day someone gets paid and show:

  • how much pay they're getting for a certain time period
  • what has been taken from their pay ('deductions'), for example tax and National Insurance (NI)

The payslip can be:

  • given as a paper document
  • sent as an email attachment
  • in an online system

Payslips can also be called 'wage slips' and 'itemised pay statements'.

Who gets a payslip

Employers must give all their employees and workers payslips, by law.

Workers can include people on zero-hours contracts and agency workers.

Agency workers get their payslips from their agency.

People who are self-employed do not get payslips, because they organise paying tax and other deductions themselves. This is unless they get employed by an agency for a job, in which case for the duration of the job they become a worker and the agency must give them payslips.

Other types of work where people do not get payslips are:

  • the armed forces
  • police
  • merchant seamen and women
  • where they get paid by a share in the profits or gross earnings of a fishing vessel

What must be in a payslip

A payslip must include the:

  • total pay before deductions ('gross amount')
  • total pay after deductions ('net amount')
  • amounts of any 'variable deductions', where the amounts depend on the amount of pay, for example tax, National Insurance, Student Loan repayments and pension schemes
  • breakdown of how the wages will be paid if more than one payment method is used, for example bank transfer and cash
  • amounts of any fixed deductions, for example union subscriptions

Fixed deductions can be given in a separate statement. If so, it should include what the deduction is for, how much it is and how often it's paid. If the statement is separate from the main payslip must be reissued within 12 months.

The payslip might also have the:

  • time period the pay covers
  • tax code of the employee or worker

If someone works different hours in a pay period

If someone's hours are different from one pay period to the next, these are called 'variable hours', and might be if:

  • they worked overtime
  • the number of hours they work changes in each pay period
  • the rate they get for working certain hours is different

In these cases, the total number of variable hours must be set out in the payslip.

These hours can be shown as a single total or they can be broken down. It can be helpful for the employer to set it out so it's easy to understand at a glance.

For example, if someone is employed to work for 20 hours in a pay period but also works 4 hours' overtime, the 20 hours could be recorded as one entry and the extra 4 hours recorded separately.

Problems with payslips

It's good practice for employers to make sure staff get their payslips before payday. Then in case there are any delays or errors, there’s time to sort them out.

If a payslip has a mistake

If an employee or worker thinks there’s been an error in their payslip, they should speak to their manager, payroll team or employer as soon as possible.

If the problem still does not get resolved, the employee or worker can raise a formal complaint ('grievance').

If someone does not get a payslip

If an employee or worker does not get their payslip when expected, they should check with their manager, payroll team or employer as soon as possible.

If the problem does not get resolved, the employee or worker can raise a formal complaint ('grievance').

If the employee or worker still does not get a payslip, they can make a claim to an employment tribunal.