Most of us see funds deposited into our bank accounts each pay day and don’t give it a second thought. But do you know what your annual holiday balance is, how much sick leave you have remaining or what’s being deducted from your pay? Canstar reveals how to check if you’re being paid correctly.
How to check if you’re being paid correctly
Legally in New Zealand, employers don’t have to provide you with a pay slip (unless it’s in your contract). But, as an employee you do have the right to see information about how your employer has worked out your wages and the time records relating to your hours of work.
Employment New Zealand reminds workers that you can ask your employer to give you a copy of your wages and time records, holiday and leave records (which your employer must keep).
These records will show your pay rate, hours worked and how much you were paid, as well as your holiday and leave information, plus any deductions, such as KiwiSaver.
Sometimes holiday and leave balances are shown in weeks, days or hours. Always talk to your employer if you feel something on your pay slip doesn’t add up, or if you have any questions about what certain terms mean.
Are you being paid correctly? What’s on a pay slip?
Generally a pay slip comprises personal information such as your:
- Name and employee number
- IRD number (so your employer can pay your income tax to Inland Revenue on your behalf)
- Bank account number and pay date
- Pay period (the time period you have been paid for in your pay, e.g. every week or fortnightly)
- Annual holiday balance (some pay slips show leave balances e.g. annual holidays, alternative holidays, time off in lieu, etc)
- Sick leave balance
- Alternative holiday balance (this may be shown if you have worked on one or more public holidays. For each public holiday you work, you will become entitled to an alternative holiday)
And money-related information including:
- Pay for sick leave taken
- Your pay rate – this must be at least the relevant minimum wage rate (even if you are paid a salary rather than an hourly rate)
- Any bonuses or commissions
- Any deductions (like ACC, income tax, KiwiSaver or Student Loan payments). If you’re a KiwiSaver member making contributions from your pay, your employer also has to put in money, this is equal to 3% of your gross pay.
- Your gross pay (pay before tax and other deductions are made)
- Your net pay (what you are paid after all deductions have been made; it’s sometimes called your ‘take home pay’)
- Hours you worked and if you were paid a different rate for overtime
How do I know if my KiwiSaver contributions are being paid correctly?
If you set up your KiwiSaver a while back and have opted to set and forget, you may not even know who your provider is. But finding out is simple. You can call 0800 KIWISAVER or, login to myIR. Here, you will be able to see your KiwiSaver account, including who your provider is.
If you know your provider, it’s easy to access a more detailed breakdown of your KiwiSaver:
Use your myIR login, or register with IRD
One easy way to keep track of your KiwiSaver balance is to use the Inland Revenue Department’s (IRD) myIR platform. myIR keeps tabs on your income tax, any student loans and KiwiSaver. Through myIR you can see any government contributions to KiwiSaver and contributions that are paid to IRD. This includes how much is coming out of your salary, and how much your employer is contributing.
There are a few things to keep in mind when checking your KiwiSaver balance through myIR:
- myIR does not display your overall balance, as it does not include investment gains and losses
- It will only show contributions after they have been processed from your employer’s payroll report. This can take a few months, depending on your employer, from when they are deducted from your salary or wages
- You will be able to see when Inland Revenue transfers the money to your KiwiSaver scheme provider
I don’t have a myIR account
If you don’t have a myIR online account, it’s pretty easy to register. Just enter your IRD number into the Online Services Registration form, via the IRD website, and enter a few details to get going.
What if I haven’t been paid correctly and I’ve been underpaid?
If you think a mistake or miscalculation has been made, you should approach your employer to discuss it.
Approach them with an open mind, they may have simply made a mistake, rather than deliberately trying to underpay you, and such errors are usually pretty fixable.
Let them know what your concerns are before you meet, so they can bring the right information. It’s usually better to do this in person.
Or what if I’ve been overpaid?
Some contracts include a clause that covers the repayment of accidental overpayments. If not, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau, if the overpayment occurred due to an error made by your employer, they have to get your written permission if they want to recover the excess through deductions from your pay.
Generally, your employer has to give you notice that they intend to recover the overpayment, and they must give you notice no later than the pay day following the overpayment. Your employer has to recover the overpayment within two months of giving you notice about it.
However, if six months pass before you become aware of the error, and you received the money in good faith and spent it, then you may not have to pay it back. If you are in dispute about the matter, either party can go through the employment disputes process to resolve it.
Where can I get help if I’m not getting paid correctly and my employer won’t help?
If after discussing with your employer you are still confused or think a mistake or error has been made, there are services to help you:
- Contact Employment New Zealand for information (including Employment Mediation Services)
- Go to mediation
- Lodge a personal grievance with your employer
- Lodge an application with the Employment Relations Authority
Check your KiwiSaver
When checking your finances, it’s always worth taking a moment to consider your KiwiSaver. This is especially true if part of your budget is aimed towards saving a deposit for a first home.
Typically, if you are employed and enrolled in KiwiSaver, you have to contribute a minimum of 3% of your salary. However, you can choose to contribute more, either: 4%, 6%, 8%, or 10%.
You should also consider if you’re in the right type of fund – which type of fund is right for your investment profile and risk appetite? And, most importantly, does your KiwiSaver offer the returns you expect and deliver great value for money?
If you want to compare superannuation funds, Canstar has some great tools. Each year our expert research team researches the Outstanding Value KiwiSaver Schemes on the market and presents the best overall provider our KiwiSaver Provider of the Year award.
And our free interactive comparison tables are an easy-to-use tool to compare different schemes across fees, returns and our award ratings. For example, the table below displays some of the products currently available on Canstar’s database for a KiwiSaver member with a balance of $50,000 in an Aggressive fund, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by company name (alphabetical) – some products may have links to providers’ websites. Use Canstar’s KiwiSaver comparison selector to view a wider range of super funds. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce began his career writing about pop culture, and spent a decade in sports journalism. More recently, he’s applied his editing and writing skills to the world of finance and property. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.
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