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A Pay Check Guide | How to Read Your Payslip

There are certain abbreviations to look for when trying to understand your payslip. It may seem daunting at first glance, but when you understand what to look for and the basic key definitions, you will gain a better understanding in no time. Before taking note of payslip terminology, it's vital to ensure your basic information at the top of your payslip is correct and up to date such as your bank account details and address.

This article covers the following:

  1. Record keeping of your payslip

  2. Payslip confidentiality

  3. Key payslip definitions

  4. Conclusion

Should I keep records of my payslip?

Your payslip is considered a legal document, therefore it's important to retain copies of your payslip records. This will be useful in the case of any iscrepancies or have any questions regarding your payslip.

Outsourced payroll providers are contractually prohibited from talking to employees of clients regarding their payslips. If there is a discrepancy in your payslip, reach out to your employer's payroll department or HR team directly for more clarification and resolution. As such, we would encourage you to regularly review and download your payslips for safe keeping.

In other instances, keeping records of your payslips are often used as proof of income for mortgage and loan applications. If you require further proof of income, keeping a record of your P60's, which are produced at End-of-Year as an annual statement is equally important. They also help with tax returns, ensuring you pay the right amount and potentially claim tax refunds. Additionally, P60s serve as a record of your work history, which can be handy for job applications and long-term financial planning.

Is my payslip confidential?

Your payslip is a legal requirement given by your employer and is considered a confidential document that can be used as proof of employment. This is due to privacy, security, and legal considerations. Your payslip contains sensitive information categorised as personal and private regarding an employee's earnings and their deductions. Safeguarding this data is crucial to protect individuals from identity theft, financial fraud, and potential discrimination. Laws and regulations require employers to maintain the confidentiality of pay information. This confidentiality builds trust between employers and employees, encourages fairness in the workplace, and prevents conflicts that might arise if salary information were openly accessible. Overall, confidentiality ensures the protection of employees' privacy and rights while maintaining a secure and harmonious work environment.

Key Payslip definitions you should look out for:

Year to Date Information - Contains all the year-to-date ("YTD") figures for the current tax year, it also shows you how much pension has been contributed by your employer and how much National Insurance contributions ("NI") has been paid by your employer.

Pay Period - Contains the same information as YTD but for the current period only. Taxable gross pay is the total amount of pay (before your tax-free allowance is applied) on which tax will be calculated.

Pay Date - Shows when you'll receive your pay in your bank account. In addition, check for the deadline to report any discrepancies or issues with your pay.


National Insurance Category - The amount of income tax deducted from your earnings based on your NI code and earnings.

National Insurance (NI) - This deduction goes toward your pension and other benefits.

Pension Contributions - If you're enrolled in a workplace pension scheme, your contributions will be deducted here.

Student Loan Repayments - Only applicable if you have a student loan, the repayments will be listed separately.

Other Deductions - Any other deductions, such as union dues or healthcare contributions, will also be listed here.

Earnings :

Niable Gross Pay - the total amount you've earned before any deductions.

Net Pay - The amount you will receive as payment once all deductions have been taken. In conclusion, learning about your payslip might seem complex at first, but it's valuable for grasping your earnings and deductions. Understanding terms such as Year to Date Information, Pay Period, and deductions like National Insurance and Pension Contributions helps you manage your finances well and ensures accurate payments. Don't forget to check your personal information for accuracy and keep records of your payslip and P60's copies, as they are legal documents crucial for resolving discrepancies, maintaining privacy and useful for proof of employment or income. These practices not only protect individuals but also foster trust and fairness in the workplace. So, take the time to understand your payslip, and you'll be better equipped to manage your finances effectively.


Written by
Isabella Zermani
Pay Check Limited
+44 (0) 20 7866 4600