I went for an interview and the employer asked for my current salary to which I replied X amount. However, I included in the amount the yearly bonus that we receive which essentially bumps up my monthly salary by a little bit (whether this is ethical or not is another discussion).

However, to continue with the process of hiring, they asked for my payslip which doesn't reflect the bonus that I've received. This is also the first time I've been asked of my payslip during the hiring process.

How do I answer to them if they ask me why my payslip amount is a little less than what I've mentioned?

  • 5
    Why did they ask for your payslips? I'd tell them these are personal financial documents that you aren't prepared to disclose.
    – Darren
    Sep 21, 2017 at 12:06
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    @JoeStrazzere, yeah, but they should offer what they think you're worth, not what they think they can get away with offering you. Is this normal in the US (assuming OP is there)?
    – Darren
    Sep 21, 2017 at 12:37
  • Asker's profile says Singapore. This is not your standard 'West'ern country...
    – AakashM
    Sep 21, 2017 at 12:51
  • I've been asked for a payslip, I just refused saying it's not something I can disclose, it's between me and my current employer.
    – Kilisi
    Sep 21, 2017 at 13:47
  • 1
    Even if they ask "salary," just state it as "annual compensation." Then pay stubs are not an issue ("It's less." "Yes, year-end bonus is disbursed separately") Sep 21, 2017 at 13:56

3 Answers 3


The whole thing of asking your previous salary as part of the negotiation is pretty rubbish and I know that one US state (Massachusetts) has actually brought in a law to ban employers from asking for it.

There are some tactics for declining to provide the information but they aren't going to help you here as you've already disclosed the figure and refusing to provide the payslip will probably just make them assume the worst. There's nothing wrong with accounting for the bonus when asked for your pay - after all it formed part of your overall compensation package.

As for how to handle the discrepancy in amounts - if you have any documentation to substantiate the bonus amount, or even just the existence of the bonus itself then I would supply it along with the payslip. If you don't then when you hand over the payslip (or email it in or whatever) just provide a matter of fact explanation like:

My total compensation was Z which was made up of my base salary X plus my bonus Y, this payslip will show my base salary of X and this e-mail shows my but doesn't include my bonus which was paid separately.

  • @JoeStrazzere yep, it takes effect in July 2018, I imagine there will be many accidental/deliberate violations of it at first. It will be interesting to see how it pans out and whether any other states follow suit.
    – motosubatsu
    Sep 21, 2017 at 13:07

EDIT: I have to specify here: I am talking about salary in the context of a job interview situation as a number to represent your value. This is not meant as a word definition in the literal sense as salary vs. bonus vs. benefits etc.

for me. bonus is part of the salary so you where honest, in my view. Not only this, but everything else like free lunch, extra holidays etc. has to be considered. It is a money-equivalent compensation for the services delivered e.g. salary. (if not specifically asked about monthly wage without bonus)

Normally it is advisable to not disclose your salary at all. Your current salary has nothing to do with your future job. This is just giving away information to give them leverage in salary-negotiation. Asking for a payslip is highly unprofessional in any employment-situation I know of, only ever encountered it when applying for a bank loan.

If you still want to volunteer your payslip to them, just do it with the comment that there is additional compensation or look for one where that compensation is included.

  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere: it's really a matter of terminology. I prefer terms like "base salary" which excludes bonus and other incentives, vs. "total compensation" which includes them. When a recruiter asks for "salary", it is really not clear what they mean. Sep 21, 2017 at 12:46
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    @JoeStrazzere: The last time I disclosed my earnings to a recruiter (which I normally don't do) I carefully qualified it with "total compensation, including bonus and ESPP". Sep 21, 2017 at 13:00

How do I answer to them if they ask me why my payslip amount is a little less than what I've mentioned?

Just be honest and indicate that you included your bonus when initially asked.

Next time try to remember to answer the questions as asked. If they ask your salary, just indicate the salary. Then if they ask your bonus, you can talk about that and under what conditions you'll get a bonus.

That way you won't risk coming across as slightly dishonest.

  • 3
    I find that advice very critical - if an interviewer asks for former salary it is usually to get a ballpark figure of the yearly compensation they want to offer to you. If you just do not mention the worth of the total compensation package, they will get a wrong picture. As overall compensation can consist of many things and varies greatly it is always advisable to be aware of the total worth of the package and communicate that total worth, if you want to go down that road at all.
    – Daniel
    Sep 21, 2017 at 12:20
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    I usually follow up with asking, "What's the salary range for this position?", but if I do disclose my salary, it's something like, "My base salary is $XX with a target bonus of Y%." and followed up with, "I prefer to consider a position based on the total compensation, not just salary and bonus"
    – DLS3141
    Sep 21, 2017 at 13:09

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