*Post updated in January 2024

Even though payslips are important in our lives, you have probably had some doubts on more than one occasion when you have taken time to really look at them properly, because you were not sure about what some of the items on them are. So that you no longer have to worry about this, we have put together a useful guide on how to read and understand your payslip in 2024: it explains what this document is about and all of the key information within it.

What is a payslip?

A payslip is a document that the company has to give each employee by law. It contains a range of details about the company, the type of work that you have done, the time worked, and different financial amounts. It is a receipt for payment of your salary, and also proof that you have paid your social security contribution, as an employee, and of the amount of tax withheld as part of your income tax payment (IRPF). In addition, as it has been filled out and signed by the company, the document has legal force should there be any problems relating to it.

The payslip acts as evidence of social security payments made and personal income tax (IRPF) withholdings, but also as a receipt of payment, and as such it must contain information concerning the type of work done, and the amounts received for a number of items.

The company must provide basic information about its business activity, such as:

  • Lawful name of the company (not the business name, but the name that appears in the register).
  • Registered office.
  • Tax code (CIF).
  • Social security code.
  • Payment period (the period in respect of which payment is made).
  • Work centre.

It must also contain the employee's basic information:

  • Name.
  • National identity card number (DNI).
  • Employee's social security code.
  • Professional category.
  • The date that the employee joined the company.
  • Contract type code.

These data refer to the relationship between the employer and the employee. This is considered to be the basic information that must appear on a payslip, though more specifications may be added.

Below, we will give you an overview of the different sections of a payslip, and the information that must appear in each of them.

Sections of a payslip

The basic sections of a payslip in 2024 are:

  • Header.
  • Accruals.
  • Deductions.
  • Net amount to be received.
  • Signature and stamp box .

Each of these sections will contain different information, which you must be familiar with in order to read and understand this document properly.

How to understand your payslip

Header

Under regulations, some data, which identify the company and you as an employee to the Spanish Public Employment Service (SEPE), Social Security and the Tax Authority, must be included in the payslip. What information must appear in the header of a payslip?

The company section will include:

  • Company name.
  • Address.
  • CIF tax number.
  • Social security code.

The following will be shown in the employee section:

  • Full name.
  • National ID card number (DNI).
  • Social security number.
  • Professional category or position.
  • The date that the employee joined the company.

The payment period must also appear in this section.

These data may also be supplemented with other details, such as the collective agreement that applies to the employee, the employee's current account, and other data.

Accruals

Accruals are the earnings you receive for the services that you have performed during the month corresponding to the payslip. They are your total gross remuneration and are divided into two categories.

Salary-related payments

Salary-related payments or accruals are the amounts paid to you as remuneration for your work. There are normally several breakdowns, which, when totalled, is known as the gross salary. These breakdowns contain the following:

  • Basic salary: this is the minimum salary established by your collective agreement, depending on your professional category, or the amount agreed for your contract. This is the main part of your salary, and the most important section of your payslip.
  • Extra pay items, which may be:
  • Personal: depending on how long you have been employed by the company, your position, your training or any other extra items relating to your personal circumstances. This is the case for extra pay on the grounds of how long you have been employed by the company, your responsibility or your expertise.
  • Position specific: this section includes the remuneration for this specific position. The most common and well known are night work, danger money or shift pay. More recently, the remote-working bonus has started to be paid out.


    • Productivity bonuses: this is remuneration paid to you on the basis of the amount or quality of the work that you have done.
    • Overtime: this is payment for any additional hours worked to the working hours stipulated in your contract.
    • Special bonus payments: employees are entitled to two special payments each year, one of them at Christmas and another in the month stipulated in the collective agreement. (usually the special bonus payment, paid in June or July). If they are paid on a pro rata basis, i.e. if you are paid the proportion of the total of the two payments month by month, this will appear in this section.
    • Payment in kind: this is non-monetary pay that you receive as good or services, which forms part of your salary. This means use of a company car, insurance or luncheon vouchers, among other items. This cannot exceed 30% of your salary.

Non-salary items

These are goods and services that you receive from the company, which are not treated as taxable pay. They are not liable for any IRPF deductions, and some of them are also exempt from social security payments.

The following are considered non-salary accruals:

  • Indemnities and charges: charges are expenses that employees have had to pay in advance while performing their job, such as paying tolls or purchasing paper. Indemnities are not amounts which employees have had to pay in advance, but instead are redress for any adverse financial impact on them as part of their work for the company.
  • Transportation bonus: compensates travel expenses from your home to your place of work.
  • Allowances: include expenses for meals and accommodation. A proportion of this is exempt from social security payments. The maximum amount excluded is as stipulated in the law and IRPF regulations. For Spain, this is set at €26.67/day with no overnight stay and €53.34/day with an overnight stay. Outside Spain, this is set at €48.08/day with no overnight stay, and €91.35/day with an overnight stay.
  • Travel expenses: these are your expenses when you have to travel from your work centre to another work centre to do your job. The use of public transport substantiated with an invoice will be exempt from IRPF contributions, but if you use your own vehicle, only the amount that does not exceed €0.19/km, plus the substantiated toll and parking expenses, will be exempt. Therefore only payments in excess of €0.19/km will be applicable.
  • Social security benefits and compensation: these are the amounts that you receive when you are on sick leave or a short-time working arrangement (such as in the case of a reduced-working day temporary labour force adjustment plan). These amounts are not liable for tax or for social security payments.
  • Delegated payment of financial assistance due to sick leave or short-time working arrangements.
  • Voluntary increases by the employer or the relevant collective agreement, of protective social security action such as, for example, extra payments for sick leave or short-time working arrangements up to the amount of the take-home salary which the employee would have been entitled to in a normal employment situation.
  • Compensation for transfers, suspensions or redundancies: these amounts are exempt from social security and IRPF withholdings.
  • Other non-salary-related payments, such as expenses for materials, work clothes, tools or the Christmas basket compensation.

Deductions

Deductions from a payslip include payments by the employer to social security to cover any absences due to incapacity, your future pension or your unemployment benefit, which are deducted from your income. A withholding will also be deducted as an advance on income tax, which will be finalised when you submit your tax return. The main deductions that you will see on your payslip are:

The employee's social security contributions

These social security contributions by the employee include:

  • Common contingencies, which cover contingencies arising from non-employment accidents, common illness and maternity or paternity leave. This is calculated as 4.7% of the total remuneration, with the exception of any items that we have stipulated as exempt and the number of additional hours (counted apart), plus the monthly remunerations of the pro rata extraordinary bonuses, where applicable.
  • Unemployment: this item guarantees you a contributory benefit, i.e. an unemployment benefit, if you lose your job. It is calculated in relation to the base for professional contingencies, which is obtained by adding overtime to the base for common contingencies. The deduction will be 1.55% for permanent contracts, intern contracts, handover contracts, temporary contracts, or contracts signed with disabled individuals. If the contract is for a specific period, the deduction will be 1.60%.
  • Professional training: this is 0.10% on the base for professional contingencies.
  • Overtime: this will be calculated as 2% on the total amount of overtime due to force majeure, and 4.7% on the total amount of extra structural hours and non-structural or volunteer hours.

Personal Income Tax

This is an advance on what you will have to pay in your tax return, which will specify the exact sum. The percentage of this withholding is not fixed, as it will depend on what you earn (it is a progressive tax), and on your personal and family circumstances (such as your marital status, number of children, dependent persons and level of disability). The minimum withholding is 2%, but this may be adjusted. The average is around 15%. Modelo 145, which you fill out when you begin working or when your circumstances change, will determine the percentage of personal income tax that will be withheld from your payslip.

Advance payments

You are entitled to advance payments for work that you have already done before pay day. In this case, the deduction for the money requested will be included in this section.

Value of products received in kind

This value is the assessed value any of products in kind, which are already included in the accruals section as "Payment in kind".

Other deductions

Union dues may be included here, if applicable.

Net amount to be received

Once you know how much the accruals and deductions add up to, you will finally know how much the company is going to pay into your account. The net amount to be received is your net salary, i.e. what you are actually going to get. It is calculated by subtracting the deductions amount from the total accruals.

Signature and stamp box

The lower section of your payslip must also contain a box with the signature and/or stamp of the company, the payer, with the date of delivery for the payslip and a space for "receipt", where employees must sign and state the date on which they received their pay (if the company keeps a copy). Optionally, the number of the account where the salary is paid in may also appear here.

Additional pro rata payments on the payslip

The usual procedure is for special payments to accrue annually or twice a year. The extra payments are generated from the day on which the previous one is paid, i.e. if they are accrued annually, the extra Christmas payment is generated for the period worked between 1 January and 31 December of the corresponding year, and if it is accrued twice a year, for the period worked between 1 July and 31 December.

The extra payments may be paid in the corresponding months or on a pro rata basis, i.e. spread over the twelve monthly payments. The collective agreement determines how these amounts are paid.

Irrespective of whether they are paid on a pro rata basis, the employee pays social security contributions for the extra payments in their payslip each month. This is set out in the common contingencies section of your payslip.

If they are not paid on a pro rata basis, only the percentage corresponding to personal income tax will be withheld in the month in which the extra payment is paid (normally June or July, and December), as the social security contributions have already been paid every month.

Receipt of the payslip: how to claim it

What happens if the company does not give you your payslip? As established in Article 29 of the Spanish Workers' Statute, salaries must be calculated and paid on time, and with documented evidence thereof, in the place and on the date agreed and "the salary will be documented by giving the employee an individual slip as proof of payment of thereof". This payslip can be delivered on paper or via email. Therefore, sanctions may be imposed for failure to provide a payslip or failure to do so correctly. The Spanish Law on Labour Infringements and Sanctions stipulates that:

  • Failure to provide employees with a payslip on time constitutes a minor administrative infringement, entailing a fine of between €70 and €750.
  • Failure to use the applicable official payslip model constitutes a minor administrative infringement, entailing a fine of between €70 and €750.
  • Failure to record the amounts actually paid to employees on the payslip constitutes a major administrative infringement, entailing a fine of between €751 and €7,500.

If, when you have submitted a claim, you do not receive a payslip, you may go through the legal system to request payslips in writing.

Are you more familiar with your payslip now? Do you know what information it contains and why you must keep it for any claims or requests? Check that the proper deductions have been made, and compare the gross annual salary to check whether it has changed.

If you want a salary account which your income can be paid into, take a look at the different current account options at Banco Santander. If you want, you can also current account options at Banco Santander. If you want, you can also calculate your net salary with our calculator.

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