The power of your payslip

Steven Watmore, Product Management Lead, Sage. discusses the important information contained within a payslip

Coronavirus has caused much uncertainty as jobs are cut, staff furloughed and lives disrupted. However, a payslip can provide you with the clarity and help you need to plan for the future. It’s important to ask how carefully you’re looking at it and if you’re making the most of its information.

As your official proof of income, your payslip opens up a whole new world of opportunities – from better budgeting and financial planning to easier access to benefits. Now more than ever, it pays to be in the know.

A budget’s best friend

While budgeting can be dull, it’s rarely been more important. Getting on top of your income and expenses helps you prioritise your money on what’s most important to you. But first you need a good understanding of your earnings.

Your take-home pay may have changed in the last few weeks. The UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows struggling companies to keep staff on the payroll, by giving them a grant to pay 80% of furloughed employee’s wage.

If you’ve been furloughed your pay might have reduced, but it could also have changed your tax bracket and what entitlements you’re due. This can get quite confusing. Luckily, your payslip serves as a short and useful summary of all these changes so you can keep on top of things.

It’s important as well to check your payslip for any errors. As companies adjust to various government schemes, payroll teams are only human and can make mistakes. However, if you’re not checking for them then you could receive less than what you’re entitled to. Always read your payslip carefully and flag any errors to your payroll team.

Your payslip is the quickest and most reliable way to understand what money you have coming in, any deductions made, and what employee benefits you’ve received – such as expenses or health insurance. The final figure is essentially your budget for the next month.

When you have a full overview of your income and how it changes month-to-month, you can make more informed decisions over your finances. A payslip empowers you to plan better for the future.

The proof is in the payslip

Understanding payslips also helps you apply for certain benefits and financial services. They can serve as proof for a rental provider and grant access to overseas visas and government benefits. If you’re applying for compensation following an accident or hardship, the information you need for your insurance provider can all be found on your payslip.

When planning for the future, payslips also help you get up to speed on pension deductions. They can show you every contribution you’ve made and ensure you receive your full pension pot once you retire.

Keeping and carefully filing away your payslips is also important. Many rent or mortgage applications may ask for several months of payment information before the provider considers your application. Having your payslip to hand will save you time and effort and make applying for these a lot easier.

So, whether it’s a handed to you in an envelope or hosted electronically, don’t ignore your payslip. Learn to love it. Check to make sure you understand all the information and keep it handy the next time you’re budgeting for the month. Now is the time to check your payslip with confidence and to form good habits for the future.

A recent UK study showed that only 62% of people fully understand the information on their payslip. Will you be one of them? For more help on understanding your payslip, check out our new handy infographic on Sage Advice.