Many Malaysians in gainful employment have reportedly encountered a situation where their new employer asks for their old payslip.
Here’s a situation: you’ve applied for a job, passed the interview, and the new company’s human resources department is asking for your previous payslip in order for the hiring to proceed.
What should you do?
Many Malaysians in gainful employment would have faced this situation. Some would provide the payslip to avoid the hassle, and others would redact the payroll. Some would refuse the request.
However, asking for a payslip is not prohibited by law, nor is it a legal requirement for the candidate to present proof of previous salary.
Request your previous payslip
Can your new employer request your old payslip?
Yes, they can. However, some employers don’t care.
Many countries legally prohibit it.
Your new employers might ask you for your payslip for the following reason.
1. As proof of employment from your former employer.
2. To verify your EPF, Socso and tax identification number.
3. Review your previous salary.
According to HR practitioner Chandru Kanasen, the standard response you’ll get is to check the salary listed on the application form.
Many Malaysians believe that this practice exists to underestimate their salary during negotiations.
Chandru pointed out that this action of using previous salary to play lowball is unethical.
“It only happens in some Malaysian companies, which is changing slowly. Most multinational companies don’t ask for that,” Chandru said.
HR Surveys and Practitioners
Recruitment consultant Alex Man recently posted a poll on LinkedIn. He asked if it was appropriate for a recruiting firm to request copies of a candidate’s recent payslips to determine their overall compensation.
Some 10,500 people voted. 92% of respondents overwhelmingly reject the idea of providing pay slips.
Many said revealing old payslips would negatively impact a candidate receiving their true value.
A hiring manager who wishes to remain anonymous sometimes says that the employer wants to test the candidate’s integrity.
“When the previous salary provided doesn’t verify, it gives them the idea that you will be lying for financial gain,” the hiring manager added.
Many HR practitioners believe that this practice would weed out those who lie about inflated earnings. Others argue that it will hurt a candidate receiving their true worth.
What is your right?
That said, can you voluntarily reveal your previous salary?
Yes. If you are sure that your private information will remain safe with the new employer and that he will not lowball, you can give him the payslip.
But before that, check if you have signed a non-disclosure agreement with your former employer.
You will violate the confidentiality agreement if you share confidential information. Your previous salary will generally be considered confidential information under the employment contract.
You are also not obligated to share this information with anyone. The law does not require you to do so.
Nonetheless, Chandru added that applicants are generally required to state their previous salary. The application form would require the applicant to state past and expected salary.
If the new HR manager constantly asks you to provide the actual payslip, politely inform them that you have a non-disclosure agreement with your former employer.
But remember that the employer may not offer you a job for not following their company policy.