Employment and earnings overview
When you first claim Universal Credit you must report details about all work and earnings that you and/or your partner are doing. Once your claim is up and running then Universal Credit should be able to get earnings information direct from your employer through Real Time Information (RTI) (as long as you provide Universal Credit with relevant details of your employers PAYE scheme number). However some people will need to self-report their earnings by contacting Universal Credit on a regular basis.
Types of earnings
For Universal Credit earnings are any wages, salary, payment or fee. This could be from:
- work or employment under a contract of service
- trade, profession or vocation
- agency work
- casual or seasonal work
If you are self-employed please see our guide to self-employment in Universal Credit.
There are separate rules explaining how other payments from employment affect your Universal Credit. For more information see Other payments from employment.
What information you need to report
When you first claim you need to tell Universal Credit how much you expect to get paid in the next month. If you have more than one job or are paid more than once a month then add the amounts together. This will be used to estimate your first Universal Credit payment.
Universal Credit will then be able to tell you if it can automatically get information about your earnings from your employer through the Government's Real Time Information (RTI) system. If it can, this will be an automatic process each month, and you only need to report any earnings you receive that your employer won't be aware of.
However, if your employer doesn't yet use the RTI system, you will then need to report your earnings yourself to Universal Credit every month, by the last day of your assessment period.
If you think any of the information passed to Universal Credit by RTI is incorrect you should check your pay details with your employer and contact Universal Credit. How much Universal Credit you actually get in any month will be based on the amount of earnings in the RTI system, so it's important it's correct.
Reporting earnings yourself
When you phone to report your earnings yourself, you will need to provide:
- your employer's name
- the date you were paid
- your gross taxable pay
- how much tax you paid
- how much National Insurance you paid
- details of any contributions made to a pension scheme (and whether they are paid from your gross or net salary or into a personal pension)
- your PAYE reference
In a joint claim each partner's earnings must be reported separately. If you and/or your partner have more than one job, details of all these jobs can be reported by either partner.
The amount you are expected to earn
You and/or your partner don't need to work a set number of hours, but there may be a minimum amount that you are expected to earn. This will be agreed as part of your "Claimant Commitment".
How your earnings will affect Universal Credit
Some groups are allowed to earn a certain amount before their Universal Credit is affected. This amount is called the work allowance. Not all groups get the work allowance.
Then for every pound you earn (over the work allowance if this applies to you), your Universal Credit will be reduced by 55 pence (it was 63 pence before 1 December 2021). This is called the earnings taper.
Changes in your work and earnings
You must report all changes to your work and earnings as soon as they happen. There are separate rules explaining how these changes may affect your Universal Credit.
If you don't report changes straight away, or you report the wrong amount, this may affect your Universal Credit.
If you no longer expect to receive any earnings, you need to contact Universal Credit.
Why it is asked
You must report any paid or unpaid work that you and/or your partner are doing. This information must be kept up to date as it may affect your Universal Credit.
|I'm on gardening leave (paid absence).||Gardening leave must be reported and will still be treated as paid work.|
|My working hours vary.||Details about the number of hours currently worked must be given. Any change in the number of hours worked must also be reported.|
|I'm not sure how many hours I work.||Details about the number of hours currently worked must be given. Any change in the number of hours worked must also be reported.|
|I don't know how much National Insurance has been deducted from my pay.||Details of National Insurance deducted from pay can be found on the most recent payslip, P45 or P60.|
|I don't know how much tax has been deducted from my pay.||Details of tax deducted from pay can be found on the most recent payslip, P45 or P60.|
|I'm not sure if my partner's employer deducts an occupational pension from their pay.||If an employer deducts an occupational pension it should be shown on payslips or other documents from the employer. If these aren't available, contact the employer.|
|I'm not sure if my employer deducts an occupational pension from my pay.||If an employer deducts an occupational pension it should be shown on payslips or other documents from the employer. If these aren't available, contact the employer.|
|I'm not sure how often my wages are paid.||Wages are usually paid weekly or monthly. This information can be found on payslips or by contacting the employer.|
|I'm not sure of my employer's telephone number.||An employer's telephone number can be found on letters from the employer. If these aren't available it can be found in a telephone book or an online directory.|
|I'm not sure of the date that my job started.||The date that a job started can be found on a contract or letters from the employer. If these are not available contact the employer.|