61

Question: Will I be expected to provide payslips for most job offers in the UK? And any thoughts on this job given the context?

Context: I have been made a job offer for a Product Manager role at a salary which is at the lower end of the band. To negotiate a higher salary, the HR contact has requested 3 months' of most recent payslips. The problem is that I don't have the paper copies and the 3rd party portal to access online payslips has been down for a month.

According to the contact this is standard procedure with no other option than to accept the minimum offer. I have paused the process for 2 weeks to see if I can get the pay slips from HR.

Assumptions and thought process:

  1. Even getting paid on what I have requested would mean taking a slight job cut but I do want to transition into Product Management. The current offer would mean a setback of £8k per annum.

  2. I am being honest about my salary but still, I thought employers couldn't request this. Is it a bad sign that they are asking for this?

  3. High profile project and an opportunity to break into Product Management.

  • 4
    Hey OP, thanks for accepting, although I would recommend waiting at least 24 hours before doing so to hopefully attract people who may bring another POV into the matter. – Tymoteusz Paul Jun 8 at 16:42
  • 11
    Does this answer your question? Prospective employer asking for my current pay slip during interview – AsheraH Jun 8 at 19:19
  • 2
    This question is an EXACT duplicate. Where are the VTCs? – Alex M Jun 9 at 16:58
  • 9
    @AlexM, The previous question was tagged Italy. This question is from the UK. As of 11 PM, January 31st of 2020, the UK was no longer part of the EU. But that's not the actual problem, the fact is, even within the EU, the labor regulations of each country are going to be different from each other. And believe me, I can tell you that that the UK and Italy couldn't be more different when it comes to worker rights and labor regulations. – Stephan Branczyk Jun 9 at 21:49
  • 1
    @StephanBranczyk Thanks for the explanation. I guess I understand how that might differentiate the questions if not the answers. – Alex M Jun 9 at 22:15

11 Answers 11

170

Your previous salary is strictly between you and your previous employer. And it's absolutely not needed for any salary negotiations: They should offer you as much as you are worth (to them). They shouldn't offer you less because you were not very good at negotiating in your previous job, they shouldn't offer you more because you got a really good deal in your previous job.

But most importantly, that salary is confidential information that your previous employer doesn't want to share with anyone.

| improve this answer | |
23

My thoughts on this are that it's not as common as it used to be, but isn't "illegal". I think you'll find they are pushing this as you are well above the rate they anticipated paying, so want to ensure you aren't chancing it.

As to what to do, you could give in to the lower rate, but given you aren't too concerned by actually proving it to them, and are mainly hampered by the unavailability of the portal, there are other ways to show this.

If this salary isn't a recent change, given it's just after tax year end you may have your P60 which shows your earnings for the year, this will establish your real salary. Alternately if this isn't a possibility, I would maybe look at providing a (suitably redacted) bank statement showing the salary payments for the previous 3 months, even though it'll be net payment, it'll be straight forward for them to calculate the gross value.

UPDATE

A comment below gave me some thought. It mentioned GDPR making it illegal. In trying to verify this, I noticed that there is actually no point in not disclosing your salary in the negotiation. Why? Given the UK system of PAYE (Pay As You Earn) for tax, starting a new job you will hand your P45 to your new employer, stating earnings for the year, so unless you start right at start of the tax year, it is easy for the employer to calculate your salary, and potentially fire you for false info if you inflated it at negotiation time.

| improve this answer | |
  • 10
    I firmly believe that with the fairly recent GDPR it became illegal. The personal information is not needed to assess the employee's worth, therefore providing it should not be linked to getting a reasonable offer. The company may run a risk of being fined for up to 4% of their per annum revenue along with labor law claims. Disclaimer: IANAL. – user3819867 Jun 9 at 10:59
  • 18
    While the P45 does tell the new employer what the previous salary was, that doesn't entitle them to the data during the contract negotiations. They get that data when the new employee is actually an employee and contracts have been signed. – Andrew Leach Jun 9 at 16:51
  • 9
    You aren’t actually obligated to give the P45 to a new employer. Not doing so though may well mean your tax deductions aren’t 100% correct initially (though they will correct) until your new employer receives notification of your tax code from HMRC. – John Jun 9 at 17:41
  • 3
    IIRC my GDPR training said that GDPR covers data held on a computer. If you give them a piece of paper with your previous salary written on it (be it a payslip or old fag packet) then this is not covered as long as your new employer does not store it on a computer. @CGCampbell - GDPR is part of UK national law at the moment. – uɐɪ Jun 10 at 7:36
  • 4
    @uɐɪ your understanding of your training isn't quite complete. GDPR does not exclude paper (or any other representation) of personal data. – rolinger Jun 11 at 10:09
16

In the UK this is super rare and I personally have never heard this for professional jobs - this does sound its a HR person trying to import practices from the "old country" - is this a contract recruiter I have experienced one bad apple trying this on me

Either that they are as we say "taking the mick" and using this and as a badly judged tactic.

You can say well I signed a NDA and pay and conditions where a part of that - I certainly have see those words in contracts I signed in my Last job.

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    I agree except for your last suggestion. Unless the OP has actually signed an NDA, they should not be claiming to have done so; lies will only come back to bite. It's none of the prospective employer's business anyway, an NDA is not required. – Stacker Lee Jun 9 at 12:46
  • 5
    -1. Don't lie, especially when there's absolutely no reason to. – Alex M Jun 9 at 17:00
  • 4
    I am in the UK and a couple of years ago I walked from a very good offer because they made their offer conditional on me providing payslips from my previous employment. When I refused, they said that they will have to rescind the offer. My answer to that was that if this is they way they operate, I didn't want to work for them - and walked away. – Aleks G Jun 10 at 9:56
9

One thing to remember. In many instances, a person will start out at a low salary and be getting the paltry 1.5% - 2.5% annual raise in a given position. Then at some point their skills will outpace what they're making by some significant degree (I'm a computer programmer so take my situation for example). Many times in these cases, the only way to get your salary up to the industry standard is to make your own raise by moving to another company.

Your previous pay is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. If your new company is asking for your past pay records, they're obviously trying to get you to take their job for a set percentage salary increase instead of paying you what you're worth to them. If they're not willing to pay you at the 50th percentile of market in your area for your job title, then you should move on to another job that is willing to pay at that level. Otherwise, you'll be right back where you are now in another 2 years.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Though don't make a big shouty issue of it by stating "non of their business" or similar when talking to the prospective employer, that will immediately red-flag you. Perhaps word it more like "as a general rule I do not discuss my financial arrangements with my current employer with other parties. Rest assured I will of course offer you the same courtesy in future, if we come to a relevant arrangement". – David Spillett Jun 10 at 10:12
  • Switching jobs for a pay increase will not go away, but hopefully the high volume of people doing it in the software industry is trending down and better raises are trending up (potentially overly optimistic). Domain knowledge and understanding of a company can be used a raise negotiation. Every relevant presentation I remember almost always says it can take a year to reach max productivity, as well as how important retention is to keeping bug counts down and wasted code a minimum. – Kevin Jun 10 at 16:06
4

I am being honest about my salary but still, I thought employers couldn't request this. Is it a bad sign that they are asking for this?

People can ask for anything which isn't strictly forbidden, asking for copy of payslips is not forbidden in the UK (as far as I know).

Whether it's a bad sign, I wouldn't put too much thought into that - if they are a sizeable company then that's likely their procedure rather than relying on hiring manager guess of whether that person was actually making as much as they say.

I certainly wouldn't take it personally as someone accusing me of dishonesty, just that in order to get paid more, those are the rules to get there. Whether you agree, and how much (if any) is that of a bad sign for you we cannot tell us that's highly personal and will be different for everyone - make your own mind.

| improve this answer | |
1

Make a deal with them. "I am not happy to show you my payslips but I can do that if you match the amount + 10 %." Payslip details don't have any emotional value so at the right price there shouldn't be a problem to show them. But note "the right price" - that is very important. Compare this to working a weekend or so, of course one can do that once or twice if there is an urgent problem, if the price is right.

| improve this answer | |
  • But why? What advantage does "I'll show you, but only if you x" have over "I won't show you, and you must x"? – Alex M Jun 9 at 17:01
  • 1
    @AlexM You get more money, ceteris paribus, as well as show some flexibility towards your future employer. – EmLi Jun 9 at 20:14
  • You misunderstand me. I'm suggesting asking for the same amount of money and also not sharing information they have no need for. I asked what the advantage is of showing the payslips. Apparently the answer is "show some flexibility." OK. – Alex M Jun 9 at 20:31
  • I suggested show the payslip for a price. – EmLi Jun 9 at 21:47
  • 2
    @AlexM I believe EmLi is suggesting that you ask for more in return for showing the payslips. If the current offer is X, but they want payslips, you say "sure, if you raise it to 1.1x, or we can leave it at X and call it a day". – Joe Jun 9 at 23:32
1

Question: Will I be expected to provide payslips for most job offers in the UK?

No, providing payslips is not needed almost everywhere in the world.

And any thoughts on this job given the context?

Short: run away. Longer answer below.

To negotiate a higher salary, the HR contact has requested 3 months' of most recent payslips.

They have the right to request anything. It is in your best interest to not give in to all requests. Your previous salary is confidential, between you and your previous employer.

The problem is that I don't have the paper copies and the 3rd party portal to access online payslips has been down for a month.

Maybe it is not a problem, but a benefit (in this particular case). Not having any proof might hurt you in the future (although I cannot see how).

According to the contact this is standard procedure with no other option than to accept the minimum offer.

Their internal procedures are their internal problem. You should not comply, willingly or forcefully, with everything.

I have paused the process for 2 weeks to see if I can get the pay slips from HR.

I would pause the process forever. Read below for a longer explanation.

Even getting paid on what I have requested would mean taking a slight job cut but I do want to transition into Product Management. The current offer would mean a setback of £8k per annum.

If the deal is a good deal or not for you, is for you to decide. Sometimes it is worth it to take a pay cut, in exchange for other benefits.

I am being honest about my salary but still, I thought employers couldn't request this.

You should be honest. But giving away information which you should not give is not honesty. It is falling in the trap of trickery.

Is it a bad sign that they are asking for this?

Yes, very bad sign. (keep reading)

High profile project and an opportunity to break into Product Management.

It is for you to decide what you want to pursue, and what you are willing to sacrifice or not.


Why the deal is a total lose for you and a total win for them

For you

If you give in and give them the slips, they know that they can force you anything in the future.

If you give in and accept the minimum salary just because you do not fall into the first trap, you still fall in a trap, and they know that that they can force you into anything in the future.

So either way, you lose.

For them

For them, if you fall in any of the traps, then you are trapped. They will abuse you in the future even more.

If you do not fall in any of the traps, you will probably not get the job, and they will find another loser to accept it - and then take their abuse.

So either way, they win.

Therefore, the only smart thing for you is to run away. Opportunities will surely appear in the future, even if in different forms than you expect them now.


My own situation several years ago

I went to an interview at a big company. They had a very strict vision and plan about what I should do there, and the chances of promotion were explicitly irrelevant. Salary could not negotiated. The start date of the job could not be negotiated (and that was a very important thing for me then). Basically, it was a bad offer, carrying the "take it or leave it" tag. Obviously, I refused.

Now I have a job which appeared in the moment when I pretty much decided to cancel my dreams. And it is a lot better than I could hope for previously - and significantly different from whatever I planned. But I am happy.


Possible workaround

Negotiate the following. You accept the minimum salary for a 3-6 months probation period. Agree with them a clear plan with measurable results to evaluate your success at the end of the probation period. If you pass, then you will automatically go a higher salary, decided during the recruiting process.

If they refuse even this solution, not only that you should run away, but also start telling people that they are a very bad company. They do not deserve to be on the market, having this ultimatum-based behavior.

| improve this answer | |
  • Look at my answer here to find another, more game theory based, workaround workplace.stackexchange.com/a/159059/97291 – EmLi Jun 9 at 14:35
  • @EmLi: yes, there are several possible workarounds. – virolino Jun 10 at 8:11
  • 1
    It is not wrong to have it, but a lot of other answer repeat basically most of your answer. What seems unique in yours is the possible workaround. I think it would be fair to focus down your answer to that to be strictly an alternative suggestion, instead of addressing all of the OP's very large question. I would never make such a large edit, thus the comment. – Kevin Jun 10 at 16:16
0

Not illegal as far as i know, but also not mandatory

IMHO, in the case of you taking a pay cut with this new position, there is no downsize

I would redact (blackout) some private information (if there is such thing) but leave the numbers on.

Perhaps using these pay-stubs you can negotiate a par salary at the new position

| improve this answer | |
0

According to the contact this is standard procedure with no other option than to accept the minimum offer. I have paused the process for 2 weeks to see if I can get the pay slips from HR.

Turnabout is fair play. How can you know whether their offer is reasonable without knowing how much they're paying all their employees whose jobs are similar to yours?

I would inform them that I can't accept anything below my requested salary maximum unless they provide me the salaries of all their employees who have jobs similar to the job I'm applying for.

If they think that's unreasonable, I'd like to hear their explanation for why that is any different from their request. It's no different. It's equally ridiculous.

| improve this answer | |
0

One more point to take into account: While it may not be illegal to share your salary, you may have signed to keep that information secret as part of your previous employment contract.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Note that in the UK your new employer will generally see how much your previous employer paid you in the current tax year, as you give them part of your P45 form, so that they can deduct the correct tax. – user7761803 Jun 9 at 13:52
-1

Doctor your payslips to the salary that you'd like and give it to them. Seriously. It's not illegal, and if that is what influences how much they give you, that's on them. Any decent workplace would evaluate based on your CURRENT value. They should not be asking for that sort of information. I have misstated my income at my previous jobs when asked to a positive outcome. It's only as immoral for you to do that as it is for them to ask you that question in the first place.

| improve this answer | |
  • If you downvote, leave a comment and tell me why this is not a good idea. Genuinely interested. – user37309 Jun 11 at 9:23
  • 1
    Lying may not be illegal, but it is often grounds for termination. Do really want to a job where you chose to lie before you even started? How many more lies will you have to tell to keep your job or get ahead? – Andrew Dennison Jun 11 at 14:59
  • @AndrewDennison How can it be grounds for termination when it's done before the applicant becomes an employee? – Kaz Jun 11 at 17:17
  • 1
    This is extremely unethical. Just decline to provide documents if you feel uncomfortable providing them. – max Jun 11 at 21:43
  • Just as asking is also unethical. If they make a choice based on this, that is their fault and your benefit. There is no way for the new employer to check the veracity of the documents, because any other employer would laugh them out of the building for asking for an ex-employees pay documents. And in regards to telling small lies in interviews... I think you'll find a lot of peoples success is based on over representing themselves to a degree, and then achieving. – user37309 Jun 12 at 2:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .