The research was commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is encouraging all workers to check their payslips, following a change in the law entitling all workers, including casual and zero-hour workers, to a payslip.
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If paid hourly, a payslip will show how many hours worked and make it easier for employees and workers to check they are being paid the legal minimum.
It is estimated 290,000 more workers are now eligible for payslips. The onus is on employers to make sure they receive one.
Both the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW) rates have risen from 1 April.
According to research from the Low Pay Commission, childcare workers are one of the sectors where workers are often not paid the correct minimum wage rates.
The NLW for workers 25 and over has risen to £8.21 and younger workers have seen above inflation increases to the NMW rates.
The Government estimates that the new rates will benefit 2.1m workers, and is encouraging people to check their payslips to make sure they are receiving the right amount.
The online poll of 2,001 workers aged between 16 and 64 was carried out by Kantar Public for BEIS between 14-25 March, ahead of the change in the law.
It explored awareness of the NMW rates and understanding around a payslip and examined confidence levels of workers querying their pay.
When asked how confident workers felt in approaching their employer to make sure they are getting the amount of pay they are entitled, female respondents, were on average less confident than men. More than one in ten (12 per cent) women said they were not confident compared to just 5 per cent of men, suggesting that women are twice as likely not to query their pay.
The findings also showed:
- 15 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds and 10 per cent of 24 to-35-year-olds do not receive a payslip
- 13 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds said they were not confident about approaching their employer to query their pay, compared with just 6 per cent of over 55-year-olds.
- 16 per cent of respondents in the West Midlands said they were not confident about querying their pay with their employer, compared to 3 per cent of Scottish workers.
- 70 per cent of men across Great Britain who receive a payslip and check it said they understand all sections of their payslip, compared to 55 per cent of female respondents who said they understand all of it.
The Government has launched a new £1m advertising campaign to raise awareness of the NLW and minimum wage rates to workers and employers.
The campaign, which encourages workers to check their pay, includes advertising on billboard posters at bus shelters and in shopping malls as well as on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. The adverts are part of the Government’s ongoing ‘A Fair Workplace’ campaign, which is designed to highlight a range of workplace rights to help workers understand what they are entitled to and ensure businesses comply with the law.
Employers are breaking the law if they don't pay the national minimum wage and can be fined up to twice the total wage shortfall, subject to a maximum of £20,000 per worker.
Commenting, employment lawyer Gillian Howard, said, ‘Workers may not check their payslip regularly because they are trusting their employer has got their pay and deductions correct. This may not be the case either because payroll has the wrong information or they have misunderstood the wages and allowances.
‘It is essential to check your payslips every week or month to make sure the pay from your employer is absolutely correct.
‘If you think you have not been paid the amount you are entitled to, or you don’t understand the amounts paid and deductions made speak to your employer and ask for the gross and net figures and how and what deductions have been made.’
Andrew Johnson, advice manager at the Money and Pensions Service, said, ‘It’s really important that people are engaged with their money and understand their wages, so they can make informed financial decisions. The changes in April 2019 to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage are a positive step towards this. New legislation requires all employers to provide an itemised pay slip, and where your pay varies, the hours you have worked. This will make it easier to check your hourly rate and make sure you’re being paid the correct minimum wage for your age.
‘It’s still important to check your pay slip regularly, and if you don’t understand it or think there might be a mistake, speak to someone in the payroll section of your company. You can also visit the Money Advice Service website which has a guide to help you understand your pay slip.’