What do I do with my payslip?

2013-05-12 01:00

What do I do with my payslip?



First job, first payslip this afternoon. Yay!  But –  what does it all mean, and what do I do with it?


Firstly congratulate yourself! For getting the job, and for a successful first month.  Then get to understand that piece of paper so that you can check it.


Some of the things will be obvious: your name, your employer’s name, the date, NI number, which is your national insurance number. Check that all this is correct for starters.


Then there are some abbreviations, which will vary. You might get DEP, this is the pay department (This is not Maths or History, it refers to the local authority departments.  So it will be education rather than another local authority service), and EMP NO, your employee number.


You may need these two if you ever have to get in touch with Payroll or Human Resources, so try to remember these abbreviations so it’s easier to look them up.  PAY PER means the pay period within the tax year, which for September will be 6 as the year begins in April. You can ignore all these generally, there’s nothing to check.


The important bits

The important bits are the numbers, the money.  Here you need to understand GROSS, which is what you start out with, and NETT, which is what you end up with after they have taken off the deductions. 


Your gross pay is your annual salary divided by 12. Check that – this is where passing the numeracy test comes in useful. So if you are in England and Wales on the minimum salary not in London, your annual salary is £22,244 in September 2015.  Divide this by 12 gives you £1,853.66. That will be your monthly gross salary.


There will then be DED (deductions) or DED/ADJ (deductions and adjustments). The three main deductions will be NI (national insurance), PENS (Pension) or SUP (superannuation – another name for pension) and PAYE (pay as you earn – the income tax that is taken off every month). How much they take off depends on another box on the payslip: TAX CODE. I am not even going to begin explaining this.


Your nett pay is then the gross pay minus the deductions. It should all add up, or rather, it should all take away and add up at the end. Any queries about this should go firstly to the school's business manager.


Payroll and payslips 

The final mystery to understand is TO DATE. This is where payroll keeps a running balance of how much they have paid you or deducted within the current tax year.  For you starting new, in September these will be the same as this month’s pay and deductions, but next month the TO DATE will increase, until next April when it will start all over again.


As to what you do with the payslip – you guard it preciously. I suggest getting good old-fashioned treasury tags and keeping them all fastened together in your Employment file.


You have set up an employment file, haven’t you, with a copy of your offer letter, your contract and now your payslips? Read this article for more details:


Get yourself organised


A poster reminds us how important it is to CHECK everything:


Dear Theo

Hope you don't mind me adding to your excellent advice of what to do after getting a job offer. 

In one section, you mentioned the importance of getting a P60 and keeping all tax documents (which I do), but I would also add (from experience) that it's also worth checking that your pay slip details will be correct. i.e. That all deductions, such as pay and pensions are correct, that the employer has the correct bank and NI details for you (I have had one supply agency give the wrong NI number on one payslip a few years ago, even though I'd given them the correct number). It's also important to check that your tax code is correct if the job is not your first or only one, so that you are not paid on the emergency tax code forever! i.e. Make sure that you give the new employer your P45 as soon as possible and fill in the P46 form correctly if you haven't got it yet!


Best wishes 


Meet Theo on line on the Jobseekers,  Careers Clinic and Independent Forums, where she answers jobseeking and careers queries regularly each week.