Pay and pensions

Pay and pensions are the two main types of financial benefit you get from work. Pay can also be called wages or salary. If you are looking for help with pensions choose Pensions below.



You should be paid for all work you do unless you are in a voluntary position or an unpaid internship or work placement.

Some of your rights to be paid are statutory – your right by law. Some of your rights to be paid come about because of your employment contract.

Statutory rights

Citizens Advice Bureau – right to pay for work done

the Government – sick pay

the Government – maternity pay

the Government – paternity pay

the Government – adoption pay

Citizens Advice Bureau – redundancy pay

Contract rights

Read your employment contract to check what it says about what you will be paid. Your contract might talk about ‘pay’, ‘salary’ or ‘wages’ or ‘payment’.

How much should I be paid?

The National Minimum Wage is the lowest amount of money you can be paid for working, by law. It will be different depending on your age.

the Government – check what the minimum wage is for your age

the Government – check if you are getting national minimum

The Living Wage is a higher amount that you could be paid, if your employer is registered with the Living Wage Campaign. Get information about the London Living Wage from:

Living Wage Campaign – what is the London Living Wage?

Living Wage Campaign – Living Wage employers

How should I be paid?

Employers can pay you in different ways. Read your contract to understand what it says about payment methods. Get information about how you should be to be paid from:

Citizens Advice Bureau

Money Advice Service – Understanding your payslips

The government – problems being paid by cash in hand

Money taken out of your pay

Your employer can take some money out of your pay – make deductions – legally for

  • income tax
  • national insurance
  • union dues
  • pension if you are paying into a pension

Citizens Advice Bureau – downloadable Fact Sheet about deductions from pay

If you do not understand what the deduction is for, ask your employer straight away. If you think money has been taken out of your pay and it should not be choose Problems with pay and pension below.

Everyone in work has to pay income tax and national insurance contributions.  Find information about income tax and national insurance from:

The Government – Income tax

the Government – Tax Codes

The Government – National insurance contributions

Citizens Advice Bureau – Income tax

Citizens Advice Bureau – National insurance contributions

Money Advice Service – Income tax and National insurance contributions

Citizens Advice Bureau – downloadable Fact Sheet on tax and national insurance for migrant workers

Extra payments

Sometimes your pay might be more than usual. This could be a permanent pay increase or a one off bonus or a share of tips. At other times, your boss might have to pay for your expenses. Get information about extra payments from:

WorkSmart – your right to get expenses paid to you

TotalJobs – a guide to getting a pay rise

TotalJobs – getting a bonus

the Government – Tips at work

Choose one of the four options below.

OPTION 1 → Pensions

OPTION 2 → Other benefits of working

OPTION 3 → Your health, safety and wellbeing at work

OPTION 4 → Problems at work

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