Payslips & law changes April 2019





What is a payslip?

A payslip is a document that employers give to their workers to show them what they have earned and what has been deducted from their pay. They are also called wage slips and itemised pay statements.

Who gets a payslip?

All employees must get payslips.

From April 2019, all workers must get payslips. This includes agency workers, who must get payslips from their agency.

Anyone who is genuinely self-employed is not entitled to get a payslip.

Members of the armed forces and police force, merchant seamen and women and anyone paid by a share in the profits or gross earnings of a fishing vessel are not entitled to get a payslip.

What must a payslip show?

A payslip must include:

  • the gross amount of wages or salary to be paid
  • the net amount of wages or salary to be paid
  • the amounts of any variable deductions
  • the amounts of any fixed deductions
  • a breakdown of how the wages will be paid if more than one payment method is used (e.g. cash and cheque)

Variable hours

From April 2019, a payslip must show the total number of variable hours a worker has worked. This is only required when workers are paid based upon the amount of time they have worked. This might be because they have worked overtime, the number of hours they work changes in each pay period, or the rate they get for working certain hours is different.

The payslip only needs to show the hours that actually vary. For example, if a worker is salaried to work for 20 hours in a pay period but also works 4 hours of overtime, only the additional 4 hours must be recorded.

These hours can be shown as a single total or they can be broken down.

How are payslips given?

Employers can choose to provide payslips electronically or in writing.

When should payslips be received?

Workers must get their payslips on or before their pay day.

It is good practice to provide payslips ahead of time in case of delays or errors.

Standing statement of fixed deductions

Sometimes an employer will choose to provide one total amount for fixed deductions.

They must only do this if they have given a worker a separate ‘standing statement of fixed deductions’, which makes it clear how the total breaks down and what each amount is for.

Problems with payslips

If a payslip isn’t accurate

Sometimes a payslip is provided but the details seem to be incorrect. For example, the amounts being paid or deducted are too much or too little.

If a worker thinks a payslip is incorrect, they should try to speak to their supervisor, line manager or pay team as soon as they can. It can be helpful for the worker to say what they think the payslip should say to be correct.

If this doesn’t solve things, workers can put their concern into a formal written grievance.

Making a claim if a payslip is delayed or isn’t provided

Payslips can sometimes be delayed or might not be provided at all. This might be because of a delay that is taking too long, or because an employer can’t or won’t provide it.

In many cases, this will be because of an unexpected problem. An employer should contact their workers before the payslip is usually due, tell them there is a delay and when they can expect the payslips to be available.

If a payslip is not received by payday, a worker should try to speak to their supervisor, line manager or pay team as soon as they can.

If this doesn’t solve things, workers can put their concern into a formal written grievance.

If this still doesn’t solve things, they will be able to bring a claim to an employment tribunal. Further information is available from the Acas Helpline and Ministry of Justice – Employment Tribunal guidance.


tuc logo

Payslips  TUC guidance

Employees are entitled to a payslip each time they are paid. The payslip should say what they have been paid, what deductions have been made (e.g. tax, National Insuranceand trade union subscriptions) and take-home pay.

Each year employers must give employees a P60 certificate which shows their gross pay for the year, take-home pay and the total deductions made from their pay during the year.


Click to access Fair%20Enough%20Protecting%20Scotland%27s%20workers%20from%20unfair%20treatment%20Feb%202015.pdf


Payslip law changes April 2019 – ‘For the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand’


The law requires that a payslip is provided to all employees each time they are paid. The exception to this legal requirement means that for the following there is no obligation to provide a payslip, non-employees: contractors, freelancers and workers. There are additional categories where a payslip is not required: police service; merchant seaman; master and crew of share fishing vessel.

When a payslip is required, it can be provided as a printed or written document, or your employer is at liberty (according to to provide it electronically. However provided, the payslip must be provided on or before the employee’s payday.

The legal requirements of the detail on payslips are limited, there are many styles and formats which vary from employer to employer and industry to industry. The concept of wage packet has increasingly reduced, with the onset of direct credit transfer into the employee bank accounts. Cash pay, once the norm, is now rare as are cheque payments.

So, the UK law on payslip requires at least the following to be shown (as a minimum):

  • Earnings before and after deductions
  • The amounts for deductions which may change from period to period

Where deductions are fixed amounts, the employer also needs to provide details although that may be provided as part of a separate statement. For the majority, the payslip would often show deductions along with further employer provided information. If a statement of deductions was used, then that statement must be issued before the first payment to a new employee and annually thereafter to all employees with such deductions.

National Minimum Pay

With the onset of employment rights policing of holiday pay, sickness, and National Minimum payments (such as National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage), many employers are being shown to either inadvertently, or for some deliberately, flouting UK employment rights and denying employee the rights to minimum pay. Some making illegal deduction for wages, or not taking account of deductions for the benefit of the employer which reduce national set minimum pay, or denial of holiday pay entitlements which are currently and legally based, as a minimum, on a week’s pay being derived from the prior 12 weeks’ pay.

Employers in some circumstances have not been counting all worked time that should be paid! There has been bad press for zero or limited low hour guarantee hours contracts, some requiring individuals to be available on demand, yet no or limited guarantee of work or pay. Often employees were finding it difficult to equate their actual time worked with their actual pay received. Government set requirements are now being applied to make things a little clearer and a means for employee to be able to identify if they have been paid for time worked and appropriately in accordance with legal set minimums.

Under new law laid before parliament on Thursday 8th February 2018, The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) Order 2018 was passed and comes into force from 6th April 2019. Employers will now be required to provide employees who are paid according to ‘time worked’, details of the number of hours being paid on their payslip this time.

“where the amount of wages or salary varies by reference to time worked’, the total number of hours worked in respect of the variable amount of wages or salary either as—

  1. a single aggregate figure, or
  2. separate figures for different types of work or different rates of pay.”

Many payroll solutions (such as SD Worx) already offer such capability, however, not all employers provide hours information to their payroll or, if they do, choose not to show such information to their employees on their pay statement. This will need to change.


In preparation for April 2019, employers must review their business and payroll data processes and to check compliance with this new law – amend their processes and configure their payroll operation, to enable the correct hours information to be provided.

These government initiatives better enable employees to identify what they are being paid and equate that with worked time. It will enable them to better identify if the employer is meeting their minimum pay obligations (National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage) and are not requiring added unpaid work-time.

Powers are also being extended to enable better terms and conditions as part of the response to the Taylor report for short hour contract workers (zero hours, those with non-guaranteed hours etc.) and that holiday entitlements are being correctly applied. It is considered that many employers are not currently meeting the legal minimum requirements whether deliberate or inadvertently due to not understanding the employment law obligations.


You should receive your payslip  prior to being paid  to be in a position to check that you have been paid correctly


Unite advises all members to keep their pay slips  as  has been highlighted  in the past with claims  of wrongful payments by an employer or illegal deductions by an employer  it is easier to detect and  work out any discrepancies if you have a note of your hours worked and your pay and time sheets


For more information contact your Unite workplace rep




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