A Guide on How to Read Your Payslip

How to read a payslip

Payslips are among the most important documents that people receive.

According to Nicolette Nicholson, director at the South African Payroll Association (SAPA):

“Too many people just see their payslip as confirmation that their salary has been paid and they can relax.”

A payslip is the irrefutable record of a person’s work service for an employer. It’s important for you, as an employee to confirm that the correct employer name and address appears on the payslip. Your personal information, such as your name and date of birth and tax number should also be clearly reflected on your payslip. While generally most people will be more interested in the total salary figure at the end of each month or fortnight, it’s important to have a clear understanding of all details on your payslip and to know how to read your payslip. In addition to this information, payslips also reflect how an individual’s pay is structured.

Advice on how to read your payslip

Your payslip generally contains 4 main types of information:

Fixed salary

The type of salary you earn is reflected on your payslip, so this will either be a fixed salary or contract employment.

Type of income

This section of your payslip will show if you have variable income, such as overtime you have earned, etc.


The deductions section of your payslip will show statutory or personal deductions you may have.

Statistical area

This area will indicate your sick leave days, job description, etc.

Keep in mind that personal deductions cannot exceed 25% of a person’s gross pay. It’s also important to check that contributions to pension or provident funds have been properly made.

When reading your payslip, it’s important that you also check that your tax and unemployment insurance deductions have been made. If not, you will be held liable.


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