Starting your first job - How does it work?

Turning 16 marks the first milestone on the thrilling road to becoming an adult! Your National Insurance number is your golden ticket to working and contributing to your future and the rest of society.

But you might find there’s a lot of terrifying jargon to get your head around, especially on your payslip.

Fear not! We’ve got you covered so you can start work like a pro.

Here’s a little recap on our top tips:

  • HMRC will send you your National Insurance number when you turn 16. Keep a note of it, as you may need it when filling out applications for jobs or to give to your boss
  • Your employer will take out payments for National Insurance Contributions (NIC) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax from your wages and give it to HMRC. If you are self-employed, you will need to send information about how much you earn to HMRC and complete a self-assessment tax return form
  • Tax codes change depending on how much you earn. Currently, when you start work, you only start to pay tax when you earn over £12,500 per year. If you think you are paying too much tax, you might have been put on the wrong tax code or ‘emergency tax’ when you first started a new job. Contact HMRC to sort it out

So there you go! Everything you need to know to decode scary financial jargon and take ownership of your payslip!

Our top life hacks for moving out for the first time
7 simple ways to save money
How do I pay for university?