Payroll Education for Students

“What do we go to work for?” I asked the students as they passed by my payroll career stand at a local senior school. “To earn money!” they all gleefully replied. “Exactly” I laughed and yet only 66% of 14 & 15 year olds who I spoke to had heard of payroll as a business function.

Oldfield School Career Fair, Bath July 2022

Who’s job is it to educate young people about financial health and wellbeing? Parents, schools or the workplace?

As a payroll professional and working at a payroll bureau I know for certain that most people do not check their payslips regularly. We have the software to log and report this activity! But why is it that as we move forward with payroll software that aims to make payroll data more accessible to employees via ePayslip delivery and real-time access, the number of queries and questions regarding payroll drops. Is it because payroll questions are being answered on helpdesk portals? Possibly. Or, is it that payroll has become so complicated that for many people the payslip just doesn’t make sense anymore and so they no longer try? If the latter, it doesn’t bode well for the individual concerned who may be paid incorrectly and never know.

Payroll education begins at school

As a payroll bureau we firmly believe that education around pay, payroll lifecycles (hire to retire), understanding what to check on a payslip and where to get payroll advice should start at school – before a young persons first job. Understanding the basics of how an employer calculates pay, sickness pay, personal tax allowances and workplace pension rules are critical to helping young people make wise financial choices and healthy work habits from day one. In my opinion, financial education is as important as relationship education. And yet, it’s not a topic of discussion in schools despite students starting jobs at 15 years old, paying taxes and of course many will go on to have 40 year student loans – All of which will affect their net pay and ability to fund their chosen lifestyle.

Student Payroll Education Course

Here at Cox & Co. we aim to address this and expand the realm of life skills education by producing a suite of payroll information videos for younger adults. The topics are likely to be:

  1. What is a payslip?
  2. What is a National Insurance Number?
  3. What is a tax code?
  4. What is National Minimum Wage?
  5. What is a P60?
  6. What is a P45?
  7. Starting a new job – declaration help?
  8. Leaving a job – What documents do I need?
  9. Student loans – when will I pay them?
  10. Having more than one job – what to tell HMRC?
  11. What is HMRC – how to contact?
  12. What is a workplace pension?

This is an important first step for young people and we are passionate about ensuring they have the right tools as they enter the adult world of work. Therefore If you are an education provider and wish to find out more, please do get in touch with me.

Tracy Jerram, Commercial Director –