New financial wellbeing research from Zellis: over a quarter of employees (28%) find their payslips difficult to understand due to too many acronyms and technical terms.

In the survey of UK and Ireland employees, 71% point to at least one factor that makes their payslips hard to understand, at a time when accurate and accessible payroll information is critical to support employees’ financial wellbeing during the economic downturn.

In addition to employees struggling with complicated language on payslips, the research also highlights issues with accessibility and ease of use. Nearly one in five employees (19%) state that difficulties logging into a portal or platform, or having to remember complicated passwords, can make the whole payroll experience more difficult.

While ensuring payroll platforms are easy to access is a relatively simple fix for employers, and can be sorted through improved platform design, the research highlighted deeper issues linked to confidence and understanding.

27% of employees reported that they don’t have the knowledge or confidence to know if information on their payslip is correct or not, while 13% admit their feelings of anxiety about their finances make it uncomfortable for them to even look at their payslips.


“Financial wellbeing is not something employers can ignore, as we know how intrinsically linked financial health, mental health, and the ability to perform at your best are,” said Ian Hodson, Head of Reward and Deputy Director of HR, University of Lincoln.

“I have long been a campaigner for making payslips more meaningful. Employees need information and guidance to help with their financial confidence. That’s why, instead of a traditional payslip, all our employees now get a much more informative ‘pay advice’ through one easy-to-use, integrated system.

“Now is the time for employers to step up their approach to financial health and do all they can: not only to support those who need assistance, but also to proactively lay the foundations of education programmes and benefits to underpin the right behaviours.”

Ian Hodson, Head of Reward and Deputy Director of HR, University of Lincoln.
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Gethin Nadin, Chief Innovation Officer at Zellis, said: “Financial wellbeing is ultimately about three things: having control over the money that comes in and goes out of your bank account, having the financial and emotional resilience to cope with the things that happen in our lives, and how we feel about the role money plays in our lives.”

“Employers need to take a strategic and consistent approach to employees’ financial wellbeing, with a focus on driving the behavioural changes which are so critical for people to feel more confident and in control of their finances during this crisis.”

Gethin Nadin, Chief Innovation Officer, Zellis

Zellis has published the research in Employer’s Guide to Protecting Financial Wellbeing for the Workforce. This contains practical guidance on how to support employees effectively. The full report can be accessed here.


Zellis commissioned this comprehensive independent research among 2,010 employees in the UK and Ireland who were non-management level. Interviews were conducted by Insight Avenue in April 2022.

About Zellis

Zellis is the largest provider of payroll and HR software, and Managed Services, to UK and Ireland-based companies with over 1,000 employees. With over 50 years’ experience and over 2,500 employees, we count nearly half (45) of the FTSE 100 as customers and pay over five million employees a year. We are also the people behind ResourceLink, now part of Zellis HCM Cloud, which won the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professional’s (CIPP) Payroll Software of the Year Award in 2020 and 2021.

About Gethin Nadin, Chief Innovation Officer, Zellis

Gethin Nadin is an award-winning psychologist who has been helping some of the world’s largest organisations to improve employee experience and wellbeing for two decades. He has been featured in major titles including Forbes, the Guardian and Financial Times, as well as key HR, reward, and pensions publications. Gethin has been listed as a Top 101 Global Employee Experience Influencer and was named an Inspiring Leader 2021. He has published two bestselling books: A World of Good: Lessons From Around the World in Improving the Employee Experience and A Work in Progress: Unlocking Wellbeing to Create More Sustainable and Resilient Organisations.

About Ian Hodson, Head of Reward and Deputy Director of HR, University of Lincoln

Ian Hodson is responsible for oversight of the university’s operational and strategic approaches to reward, as well as recognition and benefits. Overseeing HR systems including payroll, HR database, expenses, absence, and self-service, he has long advocated for more meaningful employee pay advice. Under his steerage, the university is supporting employees’ financial wellbeing with both proactive guidance and reactive support, while tackling the rising competition for talent with a more progressive reward system.