4 in 10 Canadians wouldn't spot an error on their paycheque

Payments Canada poll reveals that many people don't understand the deductions or would ask their employer to explain

4 in 10 Canadians wouldn't spot an error on their paycheque
Steve Randall

Even at times when Canadians are keeping a close eye on finances, there’s one area that may be lagging, their paycheque.

More than half of people pay more attention to the weather than the details of what they have been paid, according to a new poll from Payments Canada.

Alarmingly, almost 4 in 10 respondents said they would be unlikely to spot an error made by their employer with half checking the amount that lands in their bank account but not the details of how it was calculated.

Mistakes do happen but the stats means that they could go undetected, leaving workers with less in their pocket than they should get, and perhaps overpaying taxes or other deductions.

More than one third of respondents said that they find reviewing their employee payment information daunting and almost one quarter would not feel comfortable asking their employer to explain. 

Kristina Logue, chief financial officer of Payments Canada, said that while paper cheques are becoming more obsolete and most Canadians are being paid electronically via direct deposit, that doesn’t necessarily mean clarity.  

“While employers are leveraging payment channels that offer more convenience and ease in how employees receive their paycheques, many Canadians are silently struggling to decipher their pay details and are taking a 'hope for the best' approach to accuracy. This points to a huge opportunity for employers to help employees navigate and better understand the anatomy of their paycheque."

Paycheque planning

The survey also found that 55% of working Canadians say they map out how they will spend, save or invest for each paycheque, but 45% report having no plan in advance of receiving their paycheque.

Perhaps exacerbating the lack of oversight of paycheques, nearly one-quarter of Canadians have more than one source of income, including income from investments (32%), having a second job (30%), or gig economy/side hustle (26%).