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Getting paid

So you’ve been working hard and are looking forward to your first paycheck – but there might be a few surprises when the money comes in. Read on to find out more...

When do I get paid?
You'll agree when you get paid with your employer before you start. If your job pays an annual salary, you'll normally be paid monthly. If you get paid by the hour, you'll normally be paid weekly. Most jobs are paid in arrears, which means you need to do the work first before you’re paid for it.

If your usual payday falls on a weekend or a bank holiday, you'll normally be paid early. For example, if you are normally paid on the 25th of each month, in December you'll probably be paid on the 24th instead because the 25th is a holiday. However, in some cases you might be paid late - make sure you check this with your employer so you can manage your money accordingly.
How much should I get paid?
It’s essential that you know and agree your pay with your employer before you start work. This amount should be written down in the contract you sign before starting a job. 

Some jobs advertise a certain amount of pay each year (often called 'per annum' or 'pa'). You’ll get paid one twelfth of the total each month. If you work part-time, you might be paid 'pro rata'. This means that your pay is based on how much you would be paid if the job was full-time. So if you work 20 hours a week and your pay is £12,000 pro rata, you'll actually earn £6,000.

Other jobs pay you by the hour, especially if you're needed for a different amount of time each week. Jobs like this tend to pay you once a week rather than once a month. You might also receive extra pay for working overtime, or for working at night or on bank holidays. In jobs like this, it's important to check your payslip carefully to make sure you've been paid for all the hours you worked.

It’s important to remember that, whether you’re getting paid a salary or by the hour, your employer can’t pay you less than the minimum wage per hour or the equivalent salary. The minimum wage applies to all workers who have reached school leaving age, and how much this is depends on your age and whether you're an apprentice:
  • £7.50 for people 25 and over
  • £7.05 for people between 21 and 24
  • £5.60 for people between 18 and 20
  • £4.05 for people between 16 and 17
  • £3.50 if your're doing an apprenticeship and are under 19 or in your first year
Why have I been paid less than I’m owed?
The amount you actually get in your bank account will normally be less than the amount you’ve earned. This is because some payments are taken out of your pay before it is given to you. These could include:
  • Income tax
  • National insurance contributions
  • Student loan repayments
  • Money you pay into your pension
  • Trade union subscriptions
Your employer can't make deductions from your pay unless:
  • They are in your employment contract, or
  • You have agreed to them in writing
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