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What Are the Most Common Deductions from Wages or Salary in the UK

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No one likes getting their hard-earned money taken out of their paycheck in the form of taxes and other deductions. But it’s a fact of life, and something we all have to deal with.

The good news is that there are ways to minimize the correct amount of money that gets deducted from your paycheck.

By being mindful of your spending, and bank charges and making smart financial decisions, you can keep more of your hard-earned cash in your pocket.

What Are Wage or Salary Deductions?

When your employer pays you, they’re not just handing over your hard-earned cash. Your paycheck includes money that’s been set aside for things like taxes and benefits.

These are called withholdings or deductions, and they’re taken out of your salary before you ever see the money.

There are two types of withholdings:

Voluntary Deductions

Voluntary deductions are basically money you take out of your paycheck to be used for things like insurance, savings, and investments.

No matter how much money you have left in your paycheck at the end of the week, voluntary deductions are taken from that amount, unless you opt out of the voluntary deduction (i.e. leave a savings scheme).

Involuntary Deductions

Involuntary deductions from wages are things like taxes and other government-mandated deductions. These deductions take money from your paycheck before you even see it.

This means that the amount you actually see in your paycheck each week might be less than what you were expecting.

What Are the Statutory Deductions from Salary?

In the United Kingdom, there are a few statutory payment deductions that can be made from an employee’s income without their consent. The most common deduction is income tax. National Insurance contributions and student loan repayments can also be taken directly from wages.

Some employers may also choose to deduct union dues or other professional fees from an employee’s pay. However, these deductions must be clearly stated in the employee’s contract.

If an employer wants to make any other payments, they must get the employee’s written explanation or written consent first.

Income Tax

In the UK, all employees are required to pay income tax on their wages and salaries. The amount of tax payable is based on an employee’s earnings and their personal circumstances.

Although the majority of earnings in the UK are liable for income tax, there are some exceptions. For example, directors’ fees and lottery prizes.

Read About the Tax Codes in the UK.

National Insurance

An employee is also required to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions. These contributions are made by both the employer and the employee, with the amount due being based on an individual’s earnings.

The amount of tax and NI you pay will depend on the total amount of your income, with higher earners paying more.

Student Loans

If you are a student, you may also have to pay Student Loan repayments. These are also based on an individual’s earnings.  The amount deducted will depend on which student loan plan you have, and if you have opted to pay back the student loan directly rather than through the payroll.

Workplace Pensions

Employees may also have to pay contributions to a workplace pension scheme. These are voluntary payments and, depending on the type of pension scheme, will be made by both the employer and the employee.

Overall, it’s important to know what deductions may be taken from your salary before you start a new job. Be sure to read your employment contract carefully so that you’re not surprised by any unexpected deductions down the line.

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Some Other Provisions When an Employer Can make Deduction from Wages

The most common deductions from wages in the UK are income tax and National Insurance contributions. However, there are other deductions that an employer can make without the consent of the employee.

These include:

Damaging Company’s Property

If an employee damages company property, the employer can deduct the cost of repair or replacement from his/her wages.

Personal Use of Company Assets

Money and property provided by an employer can be used for personal use. If an employer provides his or her employees with a mobile phone or company car, the employee is expected to pay back the cost of these items if he or she uses them for personal purposes. The same applies to money.

Substandard Quality of Work

If an employee does a substandard job, the employer can deduct money from his/her pay in order to repair or replace the work.

Non-Payment of Wages

If an employee refuses to show up for work, it is the employer’s prerogative not to pay the employee their salary for the absent days.


If an employer accidentally pays an employee too much money, the employee is liable to return the extra money.  If an employee refuses to return the funds, the employer can deduct it from future payments, or take legal action as the employee can’t keep the overpaid wages.

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Rules for Making Deductions from Your Pay

If you’re an employee in the United Kingdom, there are certain deductions that can be taken from your monthly pay. Here’s what you need to know about the most common deductions.

If you don’t consent to a deduction, your employer must have a lawful reason for making the deduction. The most common deductions are taxes, national insurance contributions, and pension contributions.

However, there are other deductions that may be taken as well, such as for overpayments of wages or salary, advances on wages or salary, and damages or losses caused by the employee. If you’re unsure about whether or not a deduction can be made from your wages or salary, it’s best to ask your employer in advance.

Employees Salaries Deduction Rules

When Are Wage Deductions Not Allowed?

In the UK, employers are allowed to make certain deductions from an employee’s wages or salary. However, there are some instances when deductions are not allowed.

Voluntary deductions must be agreed in advance and an agreement made between employer and employee – and employees must be given the opportunity to opt-out.

Employers cannot force employers to sign up for ‘voluntary deductions’ i.e. to a Gym or trade union.

Employers should not make salary sacrifice deductions from employees if it takes their salary below the national minimum wage.

Overpayment of salary deductions cannot be made from statutory payments – as the employee is entitled to receive the full amount of these benefits.

Overall, while employers do have some leeway when it comes to making unlawful deductions from employees’ wages, there are still some limitations in place. In the case of a tipped employee, an employer may make deductions for losses or breakage.

However, the employer must keep careful records of all deductions and ensure that they do not make up more than 20 per cent of the employee’s gross wages.

Employee’s Wages or Salary Deductions


Deductions from wages, otherwise known as salary deductions, are standard practice in the UK. But, for business and people leaders alike, what do you need to keep in mind?

There are a few key things to remember when it comes to deductions from wages. First and foremost, deductions should be fair and reasonable. Secondly, deductions should only be made for legitimate business reasons.

Finally, employees should be notified in advance of any unauthorised deductions that will be made from their wages.

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