3. Pay calculations if you work shifts or get bonuses

If your pay or working hours vary from week to week, the calculations for working out your weekly pay are more complicated.

Bonuses and commission

Your pay could vary depending on the amount of work you do, because of:

  • bonuses
  • commission
  • ‘piece work’ - you’re paid by the amount of work you do, rather than by the hour

The 12-week period

If you get bonuses, commission or piece work, you’ll need to work out your average hourly rate over a 12-week period to work out your weekly pay.

Add up your total pay for the 12 weeks first. You can include overtime and bonuses. There are special calculations for bonuses.

Quarterly bonuses

You can include a proportion of your quarterly bonuses in your calculations.

  1. Divide the bonus amount by 13 (the number of weeks in a quarter of a year).

  2. Multiply this figure by 12 (the number of weeks your pay is averaged across).

Example:

If you get a quarterly bonus of £260:

  • divide £260 by 13 weeks = £20
  • multiply £20 by 12 weeks = £240

You can include a bonus of £240 as part of your 12-week total.

Annual bonuses

If you get an annual bonus here’s what you need to do.

  1. Divide the bonus amount by 52 (the number of weeks in a year).

  2. Multiply this by 12.

Example:

If you get an annual bonus of £5,200:

  • divide £5,200 by 52 weeks = £100 per week
  • multiply £100 by 12 weeks = £1,200

You can include a bonus of £1,200 as part of your 12-week total.

Hourly rate

Work out the average hourly rate by dividing the total amount you earned in 12-week period by the number of hours you worked.

Weekly rate

Multiply your hourly rate by the average number of hours you worked each week in the 12-week period, to get your weekly rate.

Shift or rota work

Your week’s pay will be the average number of hours you work at an average pay rate over a 12-week period.

Example:

Your pay is £6 per hour and you work three 9-hour shifts, then you have 3 days off.

You’re paid £9 per hour at weekends. At the start of the 12-week period, your first day at work is a Monday. Here’s how you work out your pay.

  1. Work out how many hours you did over the 12-week period (42 x 9-hour shifts = 378 hours).

  2. Divide this by 12 to work out your average weekly hours: 378 divided by 12 = 31.5 hours.

  3. Calculate your pay for the weekday shifts. You’d have worked 30 weekday 9-hour shifts at £6 per hour. 30 shifts x 9 hours = 270 hours. Multiply this by £6 to get the total you were paid for your weekday shifts: £1,620.

  4. Divide £1620 by 12 to get the weekly figure: £135.

  5. Calculate your pay for weekends. You’d have worked 12 weekend 9-hour shifts at £9 per hour. 12 shifts x 9 hours = 108 hours. Multiply this by £9 to get the weekend total: £972

  6. Divide this by 12 to get the weekly figure: £81 per week.

  7. Add the weekday and weekend figures together: £135 + £81 = £216. This is your weekly rate.

Get help with the calculations

You can get help to calculate a week’s pay from Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) or Citizens Advice.