Employers don’t have to provide you with a payslip (unless it’s in the employment agreement), but these are useful tools (whether on paper or electronic) to make sure that you and your employer have the same understanding of how the pay is made up. If you don’t get a payslip or it doesn’t have enough information, you can ask your employer to write down the things you want to know.

You can ask your employer to show or give a copy of your wages and time records, and holiday and leave records (which your employer must keep). These records will show you your pay rate, hours worked and how much you were paid, as well as your holiday and leave information. If there is anything you don’t understand, you can ask your employer to explain it to you. You should be aware that leave and holiday balances are sometimes shown in weeks, days or hours.

The list below has some of the things your payslip might contain.

About me

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About my money

Graphic of dollar note in red

About my hours

Graphic of clock with dollar sign for hands

About me

Quite often both your name and employee number will be on your payslip.

Your start date is the date you started work for your employer - this is not always the same date that is used to work out your annual holidays, sick leave or bereavement leave. You can ask your employer what date these are being calculated from.

You must give your employer your IRD number so that they can pay your income tax to Inland Revenue on your behalf. If you don’t know your IRD number you should contact Inland Revenue.

Your bank account number might be on your payslip if your pay is paid directly into your bank account. Your pay must be paid to you in cash unless you have agreed for it to be paid some other way (e.g. into your bank account.

Your pay date might be in your employment agreement (e.g. every 2nd Tuesday), but it doesn’t have to be.

Your pay period is the time period you have been paid for in your pay. Most pay periods are weekly, or fortnightly. Some people get paid in the middle of their pay period (e.g. they get paid fortnightly one week in arrears and one week in advance), this is more common for people paid a salary.

Some payslips will show leave balances e.g. annual holidays, sick leave, alternative holidays, long service leave, time off in lieu (TOIL) etc. If your payslip shows two leave balances for annual holidays these will be entitled holidays (which you are entitled to take each time you reach your annual holidays anniversary date) and accrued holidays. Accrued holidays are a useful tool for employers to use as an estimate of financial liability for annual holidays, They can also be useful for employees to see as an estimate of their progress towards becoming entitled to their four weeks annual holidays (at their anniversary date). It can be confusing to see your accrued annual holidays balance because:

  • you are not entitled to take accrued annual holidays
  • your annual holidays entitlement after your next anniversary date for annual holidays may be different from your accrued holidays balance just before the anniversary date. This is particularly the case if your work pattern has changed throughout the year and the accrued holidays have not been recorded in weeks or the accrued balance hasn’t been updated to reflect the work pattern change.

If an employee asks to take annual holidays in advance, some employers use the employee’s accrued annual holiday balance as the basis for deciding:

  • whether to agree to the employee taking any annual holidays in advance, and
  • how many weeks/ days annual holidays in advance the employee can take.

Your sick leave balance is the amount of days of sick leave that you are currently able to take.

Your TOIL balance is the amount of days of time off in lieu that you are currently entitled to take.

Your alternative holidays balance may be shown if you have worked on one or more public holidays that are otherwise working days for you. For each public holiday you work on you will become entitled to an alternative holiday.

About my money

Your pay for sick leave taken will only appear if you were entitled to take paid sick leave. You must have been working for your employer continuously for at least 6 months to become entitled to sick leave (or meet the qualifying hours worked test).

Your pay for bereavement leave taken will only appear if you were entitled to take bereavement leave. You must have been working for your employer continuously for at least 6 months to become entitled to bereavement leave (or meet the qualifying hours worked test).

For each public holiday you work, you will become entitled to an alternative holiday. See 'My alternative holidays balance' above.

Your pay rate is the amount you are paid per hour.  This must be at least the relevant minimum wage rate (even if you are paid a salary rather than an hourly rate).

Your allowances are paid if they are in your employment agreement. They might cover things like ‘dirt money’, special responsibilities etc.

Your bonuses/ commissions or piece rates are usually set out in your employment agreement and reward you for completing tasks or specific targets you have been given.

Your deductions include your:

  • income tax deducted,
  • ACC deductions,
  • any payment for board and lodgings provided by your employer,
  • any Kiwisaver,
  • child support,
  • student loan payments,
  • any other deductions. 

Other than deductions your employer must make under the law, your employer can’t make deductions from your pay without your agreement.

Your pay for annual holidays must be calculated at the greater of your ordinary weekly pay or your average weekly earnings.  You can ask your employer to show you how this is worked out.

Your pay for unworked public holidays and for alternative holidays, sick leave and bereavement leave must be calculated at your relevant daily pay (including regular overtime), or if that isn’t possible to work out or your pay varies in the pay period, your employer can choose to use average daily pay. You can ask your employer to show you how this is worked out.

Your pay for public holidays worked must be paid at at least time and a half  of your relevant daily pay for the hours worked (if you get penal rates, then you get the greater of relevant daily pay with penal rates and time and a half of relevant daily pay without penal rates). You can ask your employer to show you how this is worked out.

Your 8% instead of annual holidays (if relevant). If your employment is for a fixed term of 12 months or less, or it is so intermittent or irregular that it is impractical to provide 4 weeks’ annual holidays then you can agree in your employment agreement to be paid 8% of your gross earnings each pay instead of getting annual holidays. This must be an identifiable part of your pay and you can ask your employer to show you how this has been calculated (and what has been included in your gross earnings).

Your reimbursements is the money your employer gives back to you for costs you have paid as part of your employment. These are usually agreed in advance either in your employment agreement or at the time.

Your gross pay is your pay before tax and other deductions are made.

Your net pay is what you are paid after all deductions have been made; it is sometimes called your ‘take home pay’.

YTD means year to date, this usually refers to the tax year (ie the period from 1 April to 31 March). This will be the total amount you have been paid for the year, before all deductions.

This is the total money you have been paid, minus tax and any other deductions and usually refers to the tax year. (ie the period from 1 April to 31 March).

About my hours

All the information about your hours must be recorded by your employer. You can ask your employer for these details.

This will normally be the total hours you worked in the pay period, eg that week or fortnight.

Your payslip may have listed the days and the hours worked on each day. These may be divided into ordinary hours (hours you normally work or receive base pay for) and overtime hours.

The hours you did as overtime, these are the hours you worked in addition to your normal working hours, some employment agreements pay overtime at a different rate.

The hours you got penal rates for. (Some employment agreements offer penal rates e.g. a special higher rate for working on a Sunday).

A breakdown of the hours you worked on public holidays. 

Your annual holidays taken may be divided into entitled annual holidays taken and annual holidays taken in advance.

Your sick leave taken may include entitled sick leave taken and also discretionary sick leave taken if your employer has agreed to discretionary sick leave.

Your bereavement leave taken may include discretionary bereavement leave if your employer has agreed to give you discretionary bereavement leave.

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