Understanding Payslips: A Guide for Employers

All employees are entitled to a payslip. Payslips can be in paper format, be emailed or accessed through a website. How payslips look can vary from employer to employer, but the following information must be included:

  • Gross pay – the employee’s earnings before any deductions
  • Net pay – the employee’s earning after deductions (this is the amount the employee will receive)
  • Deductions – this may include income tax, national insurance contributions, pension contributions, student loan payments, court orders, child maintenance, repayment for workplace benefits and payroll giving
  • Employee personal information – this includes payroll number, tax code, and national insurance number
  • Earnings – this may consist of basic pay, commissions/bonuses, overtime, reimbursements for expenses, sick pay, maternity/paternity/adoption pay, and workplace benefits.
  • Pay date
  • Pay method – how the employee will be paid such as directly to the bank or cash in hand
  • Tax period
  • Summary of the year to date – this is the employee’s total earnings and deductions for the current financial year

Setting Up Payroll

To run payroll yourself, you must complete the following tasks:

  • Register as an employer with HMRC and receive a login for PAYE online
  • Choose payroll software – this will enable you to record employee’s details, calculate pay/deductions and conduct reports on employees to HMRC
  • Collect and keep records – records must be kept for 3 years from the end of the tax year they relate to
  • Inform HMRC about all employees
  • Record pay
  • Pay HMRC tax and national insurance
  • Complete annual reports to prepare for the next tax year

Running Payroll

If you choose to run payroll yourself, you will need to report all your employee’s wages and deductions to HMRC on or before payday. These reports allow HMRC to know how much you owe for tax and national insurance. You will have to pay these fees to the HMRC monthly unless you are a small employer and expect to pay less than £1500 a month. In this case, you can arrange to pay quarterly but contacting HMRC.

You will also have to alert HMRC when you hire a new employee, if one leaves and if an employee has a change of circumstance. Chance of circumstance may include reaching State Pension age, receiving a promotion, etc.

The Employment Standards Act

The Employment Standards Act is a set of obligations regarding paying employees and maintaining payroll records. This act requires employers to pay employees at least twice a month with a statement of wages and deductions.

It is a violation for an employer to withhold or deduct any part of an employee’s wages. The only exception is if an employee has been overpaid. In this case, the employee must be notified beforehand.