What farm employers need to know about new payslip rules

New rules come into force on 6 April 2019 that will affect farm employers with workers whose pay varies according to the amount of time worked.

The new rules require all workers, not just employees, to be provided with a fully itemised payslip, to make it easier for them to work out how their pay has been calculated.

See also: 5 changes to employment law that farmers need to know 

What information is required?

From 6 April, employers paying a worker by the hour must include the time worked on the payslip.

The hours can be shown either as a single total or broken down into separate figures for different types of work or different types of pay.

Where a worker has a fixed salary each month, with no variable pay on offer, then there is no requirement to show the hours worked on the payslip.

However, if a salaried employee works variable overtime, with additional pay at an hourly rate, then the hours of overtime will need to be shown.

The new rules will only apply to pay periods that begin on or after 6 April 2019.

What other information needs to be on a payslip?

Under the Employment Rights Act 1996 payslips should already include:

  • Total gross pay
  • Net pay
  • The amount of any statutory deductions such as tax and National Insurance
  • Any contractual deduction amounts agreed with the employer such as medical insurance cover.
  • Method of payment
  • Pay date

Payslips can also include information like the employee’s National Insurance number and tax code, their rate of pay, and the total amount of pay and deductions so far in the tax year, but this is not a legal requirement.

Employers can choose whether they provide printed or electronic (online) payslips.

However, as they contain information that is covered by general data protection regulations (GDPR), appropriate steps should be put in place to ensure that the information remains private and confidential.

Payslips must be provided on or before payday.

What happens if an employer fails to comply?

A worker who thinks they have received a payslip without the required information may bring a claim before an employment tribunal.

If the tribunal agrees, then it may order repayment of any unnotified deductions made in the 13 weeks prior to the claim, even where the employer was otherwise entitled to make the deductions.

Details of the tribunal case may also be published online.

What’s the difference between a worker and an employee?

Employment status is something that employers should aware of anyway because it can have significant implications in terms of meeting employment law.

See also: Why it is important to be clear on farmworker employment status

A worker sits in an employment category that lies between that of an employee and someone who is self-employed.

Typically, this will include casual or seasonal workers or people on a zero-hours contract. 

Read the official government guidance on payslip requirements.