How to read your payslips

Young woman holding phone

5 minute read

Claire, our Financial Best friend shares her recent thoughts and experiences about her payslip.

Claire: There's an important document I receive every fortnight that I don't pay much attention to - my payslip. I'm more into checking my bank account to see when the money goes in, but I've learnt there's good reason to spend some time perusing my pay record too.

A friend of mine recently discovered they were being overpaid each week. It wasn't much, but it had been going on long enough that when the mistake was discovered, paying the tax back on it hurt. Payslips can be quite a daunting document, especially for many - especially younger people.

There is a lot of information which should be legally on a pay slip (see below). It's important that everyone understands the contents of their record but also keep a hold of them.

If you've just started work, or you're a payslip avoid-er like me, learning a little more about this piece of (usually electronic) paper is worthwhile.

Getting paid what you're owed is obviously important, so it's worth checking you received the right amount each pay cycle. People just trust their employers are taking care of everything. And, yes, they should be taking care of everything, but mistakes do happen. One action you could take today to protect your wages is to do a simple payslip health check

Top tip - you can use the pay calculator and see if the tax that would be withheld for you is correct.

Payslips vary workplace to workplace, but there are key details all should include:

  1. Your name
  2. Your employer’s name
  3. Your employer’s Australian Business Number (ABN)
  4. The dates of the pay period
  5. The date of payment
  6. Your gross and net pay
  7. Your gross pay is the amount you earn before any deductions are made. Gross pay is the amount that you are actually paid by your employer.
  8. Your net pay is the amount you receive after all deductions have been made. This is the amount you take home (or that lands in your bank account).
  9. If you’re paid hourly: your ordinary hourly pay rate, number of hours worked at that rate and the total dollar amount of pay at that rate
  10. Any loadings (including casual loading), allowances, bonuses, penalty rates, incentive-based payments or other paid entitlements
  11. The pay rate that applied on the last day of employment

Any deductions from your pay, including the amount and details of each deduction, as well as the details of the fund or account the deduction was paid into

Superannuation contributions paid for your benefit, including the amount made during the pay period or the amount that needs to be made and the details of the super fund the contributions were made to or will be made to

It is important to check on your payslip whether or not your correct superannuation entitlements are being paid. You also want to make sure you are being paid the correct superannuation and it's going your choice of fund. It also a good idea to double check by logging into your super account to make sure your contributions are being received

You don't want to realise years after you've left the job, as that money can be hard to recoup. it's never too soon to care about your super and securing your future, even though it feels so far away.

You are entitled to be paid the 9.5% super guarantee on top of your gross income, which employers must pay at least quarterly, if you are:

  • Paid $450 or more before tax in a month; and either
  • over 18 years old; or
  • under 18 years old and working over 30 hours per week

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a handy tool to check if you are eligible to receive super from your employer.

Keep in mind that even if your payslip is showing super being paid, that doesn’t necessarily mean the correct amount of money is being transferred into your super account.

Login to Member Online (or call GuildSuper if you have any issues, on 1300 361 477), to check payments and make sure that the amount that appears on your payslip is the amount GuildSuper is receiving from your employer - it most likely is, but good practice to check.

You can also log in to your MyGov account (if you have one) and access their super records – via the ATO link in the portal – to check individual deposits.

Two acronyms you might be unfamiliar with include ABN (your employer's Australian Business Number) and YTD (that's what you've been paid year to date this financial year — not calendar year).

When you have taken leave in that pay period, make sure it's been calculated correctly, maybe there was a public holiday the same week you took annual leave. Make sure that hasn't been deducted if you are supposed to be paid for those days.

You should be receiving your payslip each pay cycle. All payslips must be issued to employees within one working day of the day they are paid.

Remember to keep your payslips safe either online or physically.