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Women twice as likely to not query pay with employer

Almost one in five (15%) young workers (16-24) do not receive a payslip and one in ten (10%) older workers (25-34) also do not receive a payslip, according to a government poll published this week.

Nearly a third (32%) of young workers (16-24) wrongly think that only people in permanent roles are entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), compared with roughly one in ten (14%) of those over 55.

News comes a week after the National Living Wage rose to £8.21 and younger workers saw above inflation increases to the National Minimum Wage rates. Today also marks the start of new legislation, entitling all workers to a payslip and closing a loophole to ensure the small number not previously eligible now are.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is encouraging all workers to check their payslips, with tips on the best ways to do this.

Top findings from the poll were:


  • Around a third (30%) of all respondents wrongly believe that only people in permanent roles are entitled to NMW.
  • This lack of awareness decreases with age, as nearly a third (32%) of young workers (16-24) wrongly thinking that only people in permanent roles are entitled to NMW, compared with roughly one in ten (14%) of those over 55.
  • Workers in Scotland are less aware – more than one in ten (12%) wrongly believed that all workers and employees, apart from the self-employed, are not entitled to NMW, compared to the national average of 8%.



  • Although nearly all (99%) workers who received and checked their payslip understood at least some of it, only 62% understood all of it.
  • The disparity amongst genders is more apparent. Seven in ten (70%) men across Great Britain who receive a payslip and check it said they understand all sections of their payslip, compared to roughly half (55%) of female respondents who said they understand all of it.
  • Nine percent (9%) of young workers aged 16-24 who received and checked their payslip do not understand most or all of their payslip, while 2% of older workers aged over 55 years claim not to understand most of it.


  • When asked how confident workers feel in approaching their employer to make sure they are getting the amount of pay they are entitled, female respondents are, on average less confident than men. More than one in ten (12%) women said they were not confident compared to just 5% of men, suggesting that women are twice as likely not to query their pay.
  • More than one in ten (13%) 16-24-year olds said they were not confident about approaching their employer, compared with just 6% of over 55-year olds.
  • Almost one in five (16%) respondents in West Midlands said they were not confident about querying their pay with their employer, compared to 3% of Scottish workers.

John Palmer, Senior Advisor at Acas, said:
“Workers should check their payslips to ensure they are getting paid at the new national minimum or living wage rates.

“Employers are breaking the law if they don’t pay the national minimum or living wage and businesses face a maximum fine of £20,000 per worker for not paying.

“Acas has free advice for both employers and employees on the correct national minimum and living wage rates and advice for workers on what they can do if they feel that they are not being paid correctly:”

The National Living and Minimum Wage 

  • The National Living and Minimum Wage campaign supports the Government’s Industrial Strategy commitment for better workplaces in the UK where workers are clear and informed about their rights and employers understand the benefits of a refreshed, happy and productive workforce.  It supports the Prime Minister’s priority of creating a fairer society, which in turn supports the aim of a stronger economy and a labour market that works for everyone.
  • Workers aged 25 and over are legally entitled to at least the NLW. Workers aged under 25 are legally entitled to at least the NMW.
  • From 1 April the NLW and NMW rates are increasing. Workers are being encouraged to check their pay to make sure they are getting the right amount. Find out more at and see table below.
Age Minimum hourly rate 2018-19 (previous rate) Minimum hourly rate 2019-20 (new rate) Percentage increase
25 and over £7.83 £8.21 4.9%
21 to 24 £7.38 £7.70 4.3%
18 to 20 £5.90 £6.15 4.2%
Under 18 £4.20 £4.35 3.6%
Apprentice £3.70 £3.90 5.4%

Gillian Howard, LLB Dip Comp Law 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.”