Advice Column: Pay & Entitlements

Thursday 15th February 2024

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo weekly advice column this week we focus on pay and entitlements at work.

 My employer regularly withholds or delays my pay. This makes paying my bills really difficult, and it is not always clear what I am being paid for. What are my rights?

 In 2023 we helped with over 200 enquiries about pay and entitlements. The way that an employee’s wages are paid will depend solely on what their contract of employment says.

If you do not have a written contract, you still have a contract of employment, but it will be a verbal contract. In cases where there is a verbal contract rather than a written contract, the way wages should be paid should have been agreed between the employer and employee, or if not, it will depend on how the employer usually pays the wages of the employees in that workplace.

All employees who have worked for their employer for at least two months are entitled by law to a ‘written statement of their terms and conditions of employment’. The employee’s contract should give the following details about their wages:-

  • when wages are paid, for example, at the end of the week, at the end of the month
  • whether wages are paid in advance or arrears. With monthly pay, it is common to be paid partly in advance and partly in arrears. With weekly pay, it is usual to be paid in arrears, that is, wages are paid after the work has been done
  • if wages are paid a week in hand. Sometimes if an employee is paid weekly, they have to work for two weeks before they receive any pay. This means that they are always, effectively, being paid a week in arrears and are owed a week’s pay throughout their employment. This week in hand payment will be made when the employee leaves the job.

All employees are entitled to an individual written payslip, at or before the time they are paid. A written payslip could also be a payslip sent by email. The payslip must show:

  • gross pay, that is, pay before any tax or national insurance has been taken off
  • the amounts of any deductions which change from week to week, for example tax and national insurance, and what the deductions are for
  • the total amount of any fixed deductions. These are deductions which do not change from week to week, for example, union dues. An employer does not have to give details of what these deductions are for as long as they give a separate statement with these details at least once a year
  • the total amount of take-home pay after deductions.

For more information and advice about pay and entitlements, go to

The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit