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Ex employee wanting payroll details

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we have an interesting situation with a clients ex employee. the employee has requested a full breakdown of payments made to them, for the entire duration of their employment

they were paid hourly, on a weekly basis and were employed for around 8 years!

to get the info together will be quite onerous, what is the clients position? do they have to provide the info again (they have had payslips, P60's, P45 etc) and if so how far back are they obliged to provide this info for?


Replies (21)

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By scurlage
15th Oct 2019 09:36

OMG !!!

This can only be so they can then get an ambulance chancing lawyer to sue or something like that.

If you've discharged your obligations by providing all the paperwork you should have done tell them to go spin.

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By SteLacca
15th Oct 2019 09:44

Tell them there will be a fee, make it a large one, and point out that GDPR means that you only have 6 years records.

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Replying to SteLacca:
By paul.benny
15th Oct 2019 12:12

Just because it's not formally couched as a SAR doesn't mean it isn't one. A fee would almost certainly be unlawful.

GDPR does not of itself require a 6 year data retention policy - although HMRC requirements might mean a *minimum* retention period of 6 years.

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Replying to paul.benny:
By SteLacca
15th Oct 2019 13:13

Recognising an SAR:

In my mind, and based on the OP, I wouldn't recognise that request as an SAR for the purposes of GDPR.

As for charging, I would suggest that the detail requested is manifestly excessive and a person asking for further copies of data.

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By kestrepo
15th Oct 2019 09:45

As an opening gambit I would provide a breakdown of any payments made after the last P60 and then send copies of all the P60's that you hold. If it is easily obtainable you might want to send 12 months worth of information but a 52 week reconciled statement is a very onerous task. If they are after more information I would suggest asking for a reasonable administrative charge to cover your actual costs incurred and your time for looking through the archives etc. Under GDPR regulations I believe that you cannot charge a fee to comply with a subject access request - you can charge a “reasonable fee” for the administrative costs of complying with a request.

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Replying to kestrepo:
By SXGuy
15th Oct 2019 10:36

Agreed but. If they didn't submit a SAR then it isn't one, and you could easily charge for the info.

I don't believe a request for info automatically becomes a subject access request unless it's specifically worded as such.

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Replying to SXGuy:
By kestrepo
15th Oct 2019 13:48

I stand by my post. It would be my best bet that a request for personal information from an individual would be classed as a subject access request by the ICO. It probably hasn't even been tested in law yet!! I wouldn't be keen on being the one standing in front of the judge, head bowed, arguing that a request for some personal information wasn't a request for personal information under GDPR!

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By Accountant A
15th Oct 2019 10:57

Not sure what you mean by "a full breakdown of payments made to them".

As has been said, if he was given payslips and P60, he has already been given "a full breakdown of payments made to them", what else is there?

Do Data Subject Access requests really allow people to mess about asking for information that they have already been given?

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By busacrun
15th Oct 2019 14:02

Thanks for the replies, will provide P60's and P45 again in the first instance

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By penelope pitstop
16th Oct 2019 21:20

Ask your lawyer. They should be au fait with the current GDPR legal position.

If they are not then it should be a simple matter for your lawyer to refer this simple question upwards. It must surely be a current legal "hot potato".

These are early days, and I believe the legal profession will be on a steep learning curve.

There are a number of troublesome, vengeful schemers out there who will be rubbing their hands with the knowledge that the GDPR gives them the power to wreak havoc against anyone and anything that has caused upset to their silly, little misanthropic lives.

If every employee were to do this then the whole country would grind to a halt.

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By frankfx
15th Oct 2019 19:20

Have a word with ACAS

Then decide on optimal action.

May be worthwhile looking at client insurance policy.

Is there a prospect of underpaid salary and pending legal action.

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By DianeLockhart
16th Oct 2019 11:12

Why is your client not telling the employee to go away and look at their own records and if they want that information that they are not aware of any obligation to them to provide repeat historical information. The company has already met its full obligations to this ee with payslips/p60's etc, it is not a reference centre for the ex ee.

Then add that they are not aware of any provisions under employment or legislation generally that they are obliged to delivery so this so sod off.

I think you might be look at a claim for paid less than minimum wage or accrued holiday treatment, or pension right, disability prejudice or something that they historic information is key in a claim. There will be no obligation to your client to self incriminate. Your client should not help unless he better understands what exactly it is for. Stick to sod off. I would only re consider if he needs help on something which does not affect them and they are feeling they want to be nice.

Make it robust,firm and prove that I have to do that in law other wise go away.

All will be revealed in the next step...

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By David Gordon FCCA
16th Oct 2019 11:30

Sadly being "Nice" in employment matters generally ends up up being "Put-upon".

So "Sod-off" in the politest possible way is the safest option.

Do not assume or presume, do forewarn your insurers and your solicitor.

I believe we are specifically not permitted to send out duplicate or copy forms P60.

If the ex-employee was paid via cheque or bank transfer you may advise him to obtain copies of and check his own bank statements.

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By coolmanwithbeard
16th Oct 2019 11:34

I may be missing something here but surely the ex employee is making a request of the client. The nature of that request is for the employer to review. You are payroll agent so it us up to the client to ask you and you can charge what you want. You have 2 people who have been supplied with and lost this info. The client and the employee. You are merely a data processor and the data is not yours. Just my view.

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Replying to coolmanwithbeard:
By busacrun
16th Oct 2019 12:02


to confirm we haven't provided payroll services to the client, they have done their own payroll

they were merely seeking advise on what they needed to do

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By dmmarler
16th Oct 2019 11:58

I agree with coolmanwithbeard - any payroll processor is acting as agent for the employer. The former employee should ask the former employer for the information as this is the person with whom they had the contract and should have all the information. If the employer cannot find the information then they can ask you and you can supply it to them. Only the employer can identify that the person making the enquiry is the person entitled to the information - you will not know the employees and for all you know it could be an impostor trying to get information to which they are not entitled. I do not regard this as a subject access request. Someone does not understand they need to keep their own records (in hard or soft copy).

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By Guilford Accounting
16th Oct 2019 12:51

You are the Data Processor not the Data Controller and a SAR should be addressed to the Controller who will decide whether to respond. You should have a data processing section in your engagement letter. You cannot send data directly to the ex-employee.

If the client does decide to repsond the relevant guidance is:
However, you can charge a “reasonable fee” for the administrative costs of complying with the request if:
it is manifestly unfounded or excessive; or
an individual requests further copies of their data following a request.
You should base the reasonable fee on the administrative costs of complying with the request.
If you decide to charge a fee you should contact the individual promptly and inform them. You do not need to comply with the request until you have received the fee.
Alternatively, you can refuse to comply with a manifestly unfounded or excessive request.

If the client then asks you for this information you can agree whatever fee you like that they agree to pay. The onus is very much on the client as the Data Controller and not you.

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By Guilford Accounting
16th Oct 2019 12:53

There seem to be differing opinions about whether this is an SAR or not.

If you are unsure ask the ICO. That's what they are there for.

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By C Graham
16th Oct 2019 13:29

The employee should keep their own payroll records. We always tell employees to download all payslips and p60s to a personal file. So I would question why the employee has not made their own copies and why they want them. And I would charge for any retrieval of archived files.

But as others have said, P60s and P45 contain all the information - they can expect no more than that anyway.

I think after GDPR minimum is 3 years for most paye related files for ex employees and anything longer than that you do not have to keep. Because of the 6 year rule employers may decide to hold files but it is up to them.

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By bendybod
16th Oct 2019 17:13

Reading the OP, the question was what the client is obliged to do, not what their accountant is obliged to do as a later reply states that the client operates their own payroll.
Assuming that the client has provided payslips to the employee in the first place, along with P60s and the P45, they have done everything required of them legally.
I would suggest telling the client to contact the very nice people on the ACAS helpline (which is anonymous) with as much information as possible. If it is for a claim, regardless of whom it is against, the last thing you want is them stating that 'my accountant told me to do x'. Since the first time I contacted ACAS, I always tell clients to go this route because they've always been genuinely helpful when I have done so - and we are not HR / legal experts just because we're accountants. That's like asking your dentist to take your tonsils out because they're in more or less the same place.

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By Mark_Withall
16th Oct 2019 19:52

Tell them to access their personal tax account at:

They will have to register first, if not done so previously.

For each employment in each tax year, there is a total, and clicking through lists the payment made each week or month as appropriate under 3 headings:
Taxable income / Income tax paid / [employees] National Insurance paid. A net total isn't given but that's not difficult to calculate.

Once they can access their record, they can print it all to PDF from the HMRC website, so save having to keep logging on, or have it time out for them.

Really simple! and pain free for your client.

It won't go into days / hours paid and rate thereon, however, that's what payslips are for.

Hope this helps!?

PS. This record goes right back to when anyone got their NI number

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