Understanding your pay


When you start work, your employer should tell you how much you’ll be paid and how often. They should also tell you:

  • the day or date you’ll be paid, for example each Friday or the last day of the month
  • how you’ll be paid, for example cash, cheque or bank transfer

If you’re an employee or worker (not a contractor or freelancer), you have the right to a payslip. You can check your employment status if you’re not sure. Your payslip shows:

  • your earnings before and after any deductions
  • the amount of any deductions that may change each time you’re paid, for example tax and National Insurance
  • the number of hours you worked, if your pay varies depending on time worked

You might need to know how to work out your weekly pay if you have to claim payments for redundancy or compensation from your employer.

Part-time workers

If you’re a part-time worker, you must get at least the same hourly pay rate as a full-time worker doing a similar job.

Working out your pay

Knowing how to work out your weekly pay is important because it’s used to work out how much you should get for:

  • redundancy pay and pay during time off for job-hunting if you’re made redundant
  • pay during your notice period when leaving a job
  • holiday pay
  • guarantee pay for work – you get this if your employer cannot provide you with work, but your contract says they have to pay you anyway
  • compensation awarded by Employment Tribunals

What you’re entitled to depends on your work status.

You do not need to calculate your weekly pay, if you’re paid weekly and your pay does not vary.

If your pay varies or you’re not paid weekly, you have to use a 12-week period for working it out.

The 12-week period

You can work out your weekly pay by getting an average figure for a 12-week period. The particular 12 weeks you use varies depending on what you’re calculating your pay for.


Use the 12 weeks up to the day you got your redundancy notice to work out your redundancy pay.

Notice pay

Use the 12 weeks up to the first day of the notice period to work out what your notice pay should be.

Work this out using the 12 weeks leading up to your holiday.

Guarantee payments

Use the 12 weeks leading up to when your payment is due. If you no longer work for that employer, use the last 12 weeks of your employment with them.

If you’ve worked for your employer for less than 12 weeks, you should be allowed to calculate your average weekly pay using:

  • the number of hours you would have worked
  • the hours of other workers doing a similar job for your employer

Working out your weekly figure

Add up the total amount of pay for the period and divide it by 12 to get the weekly figure. You do this even if you’ve had to use a period of more than 12 weeks.

You can also include bonuses in your calculation.


You can include overtime in your calculations if your contract says your employer has to pay it.

Work done for a previous employer

You can include pay for work done for a previous employer if you’re calculating your average weekly pay and you did not have a gap in employment when you changed jobs.




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