7th December 2021

Don’t slip up and forget the payslips

I wrote a blog a month or so ago about National Minimum Wage and how certain essential employee expenses (e.g. for uniform or other equipment) can potentially have a knock-on effect meaning that the employer has not met its NMW obligations.

While the focus when it comes to wages will invariably be on making sure that the correct amount of pay is paid to the employee, there is another important, yet often overlooked, legal obligation.  That is the requirement to issue itemised payslips.   I used to work on a farm and can remember the buzz I got at the end of a week when a little brown envelope half-filled with cash came my way.  No payslip though, just a note on the front of the envelope confirming the amount. 

Section 8 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“ERA”) sets out the legal position: a worker has the right to be given by his employer, at or before the point of a wage being payable to the worker, a written itemised pay statement.   This statement must detail both the gross and net pay, plus any deductions to be made from the wage.  Where an employer fails to issue an itemised payslip, the worker can bring a claim to the employment tribunal.  The tribunal has the power to make a declaration that the employer has failed to issue the payslip. 

Furthermore, section 12(4) of ERA allows the tribunal, in cases where deductions have been made from the employee’s wage (in the case of a wage where there is no payslip), to order the employer to repay to the employee a sum of up to the total amount of all unnotified deductions.  Imagine I worked at the farm for 3 months and was paid weekly, with no payslips.  In that period, I am paid £3,000.  The employer has deduced from those wages £1,000 for income tax and NI.  I have not been told in writing about those deductions.  In such a case, an employment tribunal could order the employer to pay me that sum of £1,000.

There are no allowances for small business with limited resources.  The requirement to issue itemised pay statements is a legal requirement for all employers.

It is surprising that we still hear of employers failing to meet their obligations on this easy task.  Just last month there was an employment tribunal case involving a hotel which failed to meet this obligation, costing them over £3k.  They were lucky in that it was just a single employee! 

If you are in any doubt about your legal duties regarding payslips, please contact a member of the Blackadders Employment Team

Jack Boyle, Director
Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Employment Law
Employment Law
Blackadders LLP


The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.

Blackadders takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the content of this site is accurate and up to date. The site is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking legal or other professional advice but rather as an informative guide to the services provided by Blackadders and topical legal developments. Site visitors should always seek advice tailored to their specific situation. Consequently, Blackadders accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by anyone acting or failing to act on the basis of information contained on this site. Downloading of material contained on this site is at the user’s own risk and all necessary virus checks must first be carried out by the user. Blackadders is not responsible for the material found on any web sites linked to this one and links to this site may only be made with Blackadders prior consent.


Blackadders owns the copyright in this blog and all material contained on it. The material on this site may be downloaded for personal use only and must not be altered. Otherwise, Blackadders’ written consent is required before any material on this site is reproduced, copied or transmitted in any way.

Privacy Statement

Information passed to us via this site is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties except if authorised by you or required by law.

© Blackadders LLP 2022

Members of the Law Society of Scotland.

Blackadders Solicitors is a trading name of Blackadders LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in Scotland No SO301600 whose registered office is 30 & 34 Reform Street, Dundee, DD1 1RJ. Reference to a ‘partner’ is to a member of Blackadders LLP.

Back to Business Legal News from Blackadders Solicitors