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(Mark Fairey/Mark Fairey)
(Mark Fairey/Mark Fairey)

How to decipher your pay stub Add to ...

Do you know how to read your pay stub?

PDF: understanding your pay

A new poll by the Institute of Payroll Professionals shows that nearly one in 10 employees in Britain don't fully understand how to interpret all the figures on theirs - and they're not alone in their confusion.

In Canada, payroll professionals report that a similar one in 10 workers have a poor understanding of the taxes, deductions and benefit premiums on their pay stubs, while 17 per cent of workers have a mediocre understanding, according to the Canadian Payroll Association.

"If you look at a pay statement … sometimes it can get overwhelming," says Steven Van Alstine, vice-president of compliance programs and services at the Canadian association. "I think people probably trust that those amounts are accurate."

In addition, different employers may include different figures on their pay stubs, further confounding those trying to decipher them, says Gary Monk, director of finance and information systems at the Human Resources Professionals Association.

To sort out any lingering confusion, we've broken down a sample stub with expert explanations:

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