Careers advice from Theodora Griff

28th September 2012 at 01:00
Pondering my payslip

First job, first payslip this afternoon. Brilliant. But what do all the bits on it mean? And what do I do with it?

First, congratulate yourself for getting the job and for a successful first month. Second, you need to understand that piece of paper.

Some things will be obvious: your name, your employer's name, the date and your National Insurance number. Check that all this is correct.

Then there are some abbreviations, which will vary. It may say "DEP", the pay department (that is 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.

"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.

The important bits are the numbers. Here you need to understand gross, which is what you start out with, and net, 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 handy. The three main deductions and adjustments ("DED" or "DEDADJ") will be "NI" (national insurance), "pens" (pension) or "SUP" (superannuation - another name for pension) and "PAYE" (pay as you earn - income tax). How much they take off every month depends on your tax code: I am not going to even begin explaining this.

Any queries about your pay slip should go firstly to the school business manager.

The final mystery 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: guard it. 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?

Meet Theodora Griff online on the TES Jobseekers forum or in person at a TES Careers Advice Service seminar or individual consultation. bit.lyuWhqN2

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