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Getting paid

When do I get paid?

Some people are paid weekly. Others are paid monthly. You'll normally get your first pay packet at the end of the first week or month.

Some employers, however, require people to work "a week in hand". If so, you'll get your first week's pay at the end of the second week's work.


If you’re doing an Apprenticeship with an employer you will get a wage of at least £95 a week.

If you’re aged between 18 and 18 and doing a Programme Led Apprenticeship, you may qualify for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). See DirectGov for more about Education Maintenance Allowances

What will I get paid?

Your employer should give you a clear statement of what your pay will be if you are an employee, or what your training allowance will be if you are a trainee.

Find out what other benefits your employer provides, such as a pension scheme (see 'Pensions'). These benefits, plus your wages or salary, are sometimes called your "total package".

Minimum wage

The National Minimum Wage (from October 2007) is:

  • £3.30 per hour if you are aged 16 or 17;
  • £4.45 per hour for workers aged 1821;
  • £5.35 for those aged 22 and over.

You must be paid the minimum wage if you are over the compulsory school age and not involved in an apprenticeship.

What's a payslip and why is it important?

Some employees are paid in cash in a pay packet, and others have their salary paid directly into their bank or building society account.

Either way, you should receive a 'payslip' telling you how much you earned in total, and how much of that amount you get to keep for yourself. It's worth keeping your payslips for at least a year, in case you need to refer back to them.

Payslip Name: Joe Smith

Joe Smith, 685 Hatfield Road, Hatfield AL8 BK

Insurance No
062 568LR A 3 KT 66 99 88 D
Gross Pay: £833.33 per month
(or £10,000 per year)
Income Tax: £76.08 per month
National Insurance Contribution £41.62 per month
Pension Contribution: £45 per month
Net Pay: £715.63 per month
(or £8,587.60 per year)

In this case, Joe ends up with £715.63 paid into his bank account each month for him to use. Even though his monthly salary is £833.33!

So if an employer offers you "£10,000 a year", remember that the total paid into your bank account is likely to be much less in reality (£8,587.60 in Joe's case!).

National Insurance Number

Everyone gets a national insurance number sent to them when they reach the age of 16. It is used as identification for work and training, or when claiming benefits. Keep your national insurance card safe. If you lose it, phone the National Insurance Registration Helpline (see 'further information').

Pay deductions

Income Tax
Compulsory! This is paid to the Inland Revenue (the Government). Amount is based on your income.
More about Income Tax.

National Insurance contribution
Compulsory! Amount depends on your income.
More about National Insurance contributions.

Pension scheme contributions
Optional! This is paid to boost income upon retirement. Amounts vary depending on income and the type of scheme.
More about pensions.

Student Loan deductions
If you take out a loan when you are a student you will not have to start repaying it until you earn at least £15,000 per year (£1,250 per month, £288.46 per week). This is known as a threshold. You will then have 9% deducted from any amount you earn above the £15,000.

Gross pay
Your total monthly pay with no deductions taken off.

Net pay
Your total 'take home' pay.

This page was updated on 5 August, 2008


Why not try…

Part-time jobsTax and self employment Pensions

Yahoo! Student Zone

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