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Employee Pay Issues

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 22 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss
Payslip Workers' Rights Deductions Pay

Most of us get paid at the same time every month and never experience any problems. But company administrators aren't infallible and mistakes are sometimes made. How do you find out what are you entitled to, and what can you do if you think things are going wrong with your pay?

Starting a New Job

If you start a new job, your employer should inform you of the basic details about your pay, how the money will be given to you, how frequently you should be paid and when it will happen. You should be told in writing and within two months of starting the new job, although if you are considered a worker, or self-employed, rather than an employee, then although these rules will not apply, you should still get a payslip and be told when and how you will be paid.

Every employee is entitled by law to receive a payslip which will detail the gross amount you have been paid and all the deductions, leaving you with the amount that you will be given, often called 'take-home' pay. It should also show the company name, your name and unique reference number for the payroll system, if there is one, and will often have your National Insurance number as well. There can be additions too, perhaps reimbursement of expenses you have accrued while on company business, or repayments to cover a previous payroll mistake or tax correction.


Deductions can be for three reasons. The first are things that the employer must take out by law. These could be standard items, such as National Insurance, income tax payments or student loan repayments, or deductions that can be ordered by a court, like child maintenance payments. The second is for contributions to things that you have agreed to, such as social club subscriptions, pension payments and loan repayments, although these should be covered either by your Employment Contract or a separate agreement.

The third type of deductions are payments to cover stock or income losses, basically where the employer cannot explain losses or shortfalls in tills. This is more common in firms where money is taken over the counter, such as catering operations or retail, and in fact retail employees are covered by a particular regulation which prevents an employer from taking more than 10% of gross (i.e. before any deductions) pay on each occasion.

What to do if Things Go Wrong

If you don't get paid or believe that you have been paid less than you should have, then the first step is to check your payslip and compare it with previous ones to see if you can spot whether the gross amount has changed, or if it's an unexpected deduction that's caused the shortfall.

If you can see what it is but don't understand why, take a look at your employment contract to see if there are any references to deductions that can be made under certain circumstances. Then check with your line manager or whoever administers the payroll, which could be someone in the finance department or, particularly in small companies, it could be an external company, which provides a service, such as an accountancy firm.

Taking it Further

If you still haven't been able to find out why there's a problem, or you've been told but do not believe it to be correct, talk to an employee representative such as a Trade Union Rep, or perhaps your employer directly. If there's still no joy, you can consider Starting A Grievance Procedure with your employer.

If you are a trade union member, the union can be very helpful with advice and support in these situations, particularly if the grievance procedure doesn't work and you end up taking the case to an employment tribunal. Using ACAS and your CAB are other alternatives; details of taking a problem through these processes are given in other articles on this site.

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Does my company need to pay the full cost of my eye test, as I went to an small independent optician or can they just pay a maximum amount?
Joanne - 22-Mar-18 @ 9:31 AM
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Shaz - 14-Feb-17 @ 1:35 PM
Can my work ask me to do computer work as I am a driver, my main job
Sandy - 19-Oct-16 @ 3:53 PM
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broke - 3-Sep-12 @ 4:41 PM
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chuck - 20-Aug-12 @ 6:14 PM
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