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Base Pay: What is it & How to Calculate

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Created on
January 26, 2023


What’s Inside

What is Base Pay?

  • Base pay is the minimum salary you receive before adding any other benefits or bonuses.
  • This amount is the minimum compensation your employer provides you to meet your sustenance needs. 
  • While base pay forms a substantial chunk of your salary, it is not the only component in the calculation process.
  • But it is the only constant component in your salary structure and is entirely a part of your take-home salary. 

Understanding the base pay meaning is essential for both employers and employees to establish a fair and transparent salary structure.

How is Base Pay Salary Calculated?

Most employers place base pay figures at 40% of the employee’s gross pay figure. Some may even stipulate base pay as a percentage of the CTC. If it's either of these, the proportion of base pay will be stated in your contract, requiring no complex calculations. 

However, if base pay is not listed as a percentage of your gross pay or CTC, you can use any one of the following methods to compute it:

1. Calculating Base Pay from Gross Pay

Gross pay is the total compensation due, with all the benefits and rewards, but without any deductions. Since base pay doesn’t include benefits, we can determine the base pay by subtracting the benefits from the gross pay figure. 

Base Pay = Gross Pay - Allowances and Benefits (DA, HRA, conveyance allowance, special allowance, etc.)

Let’s take an example to see how this works. Say Amrita earns a gross pay of ₹50,000. Her housing rent allowance (HRA) is ₹10,000; her dearness allowance is ₹12,000 and her conveyance allowance is ₹4,000. Here, applying the above formula, her base pay will be:

Base Pay = Gross Pay - (DA + HRA + Conveyance Allowance)

= ₹50,000 - (₹10,000 + ₹12,000 + ₹4,000)

= ₹24,000

2. Calculating Base Pay from Net Pay

Net salary -also known as take-home pay- is your gross pay minus deductions like ESI, professional tax and TDS. Since your base pay is entirely added to your net salary, you can compute base pay figures using the following formula:

Base Pay = Net Pay - Allowances + Deductions

Say Ayush earns a take-home pay of ₹60,000, including ₹15,000 DA, ₹8,000 HRA, ₹6,000 as conveyance allowance and ₹8,000 medical allowances. His EPF contributions stand at 3%, and applicable TDS is at 5%. This means his base pay will be

Base Pay = Net Pay - Allowances + Deductions

= ₹60,000 - (₹15,000 + ₹8,000 + ₹6,000 + ₹8,000) + (8% x ₹60,000)

= ₹60,000 - (₹37,000) + (₹4,800)

= ₹27,800

How is Base Pay Fixed?

Employers fix base pay figures after considering the following factors:

  • Qualifications and experience of the employee
  • Demand for the position
  • Availability of the required skill set
  • Average market base pay rates
  • Location of the company
  • Competition for new applicants in the field
  • Designation of the open position

What is Base Pay / Base Salary Tax Liability?

As a salaried employee, you have to pay a certain income tax on your earnings. Since your salary is made of different components, each component also has a different tax treatment.

Regarding base salary, the entire amount earned is fully taxable under the Income Tax Act 1961. Thus, you must clearly state your base earnings while filing your yearly ITR records. Your base pay tax liability will depend on your income tax bracket. 

What is an Ideal Base Pay?

While the employer determines your base pay, there is scope for negotiation. However, while negotiating for better base pay, remember the two following points: 

  • High Base Pay - High base pay may seem tempting, but closer examination is still needed. Since your entire base pay is a part of your taxable take-home pay, high base pay figures will mean a greater tax liability. Higher base pay would also push up ESIC and EPF contributions. 
  • Low Base Pay - A low base pay might interfere with your ability to make ends meet as it may not meet the set minimum salary requirements. Additionally, since all other benefits are computed as the base pay figure proportions, your benefits and allowances might also be severely capped. 

To Conclude

Most companies fix base pay limits at a competitive and fair point to attract and retain talented personnel. You should also factor in the other benefits and compensation the company offers. You can always negotiate for better terms if you still feel like the base pay levels are too low. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an example of base pay?

The compensation mentioned under the basic salary header in your payslip is your base pay. This may be expressed as an hourly, weekly, monthly or yearly figure. For instance, if 40,000 is mentioned as your basic salary per month, you will be entitled to this base pay, no matter the additions and deductions to your monthly salary.

2. Is base pay the same as hourly pay?

Some companies specify base pay on an hourly basis. Your base pay will be calculated hourly if you’re employed as an hourly worker. 

3. Is base pay and fixed pay same?

Base pay is the amount an employee should expect to receive during a pay period. It does not include other forms of compensation like shift differential pay, on-call pay, special assignments, and incentive-based pay. Fixed pay includes base pay and additional allowances like housing, childcare, or transport. The amount of fixed pay does not change based on hours worked or individual performance.

4. Is base pay and in hand salary same?

An employee's CTC includes their base pay and any other allowances or deductions they receive. The in-hand salary, is what's left after all the deductions and allowances are taken out. Typically, it's about 40-50% of the total CTC.


Fi Money is not a bank; it offers banking services through licensed partners and investment services through epiFi Wealth Pvt. Ltd. and its partners. This post is for information only and is not professional financial advice.
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