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What is Gross Salary

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What is Gross Salary

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You might have seen the meme - “It’s called gross pay because it’s gross how much money you lose in deductions”. Well, I felt that. But here in this article, I’m going to break down the meaning and the various components of gross pay, or gross salary.

What is Gross Salary?

Gross salary is a derivative of the Cost to the Company (CTC). The CTC is your overall salary package including basic pay, direct benefits and allowances, indirect benefits, reimbursements, bonuses, perks and perquisites, and retirement benefits. As the name suggests, the CTC reflects your total cost of employment to the company.

Now, gross salary is, effectively, your total earnings for the period. It can be expressed in monthly or annual terms and is the sum of all the amounts paid to you minus the deductions made by the employer. In other words, the gross salary is your CTC minus retirement contributions (like Employee Provident Fund, gratuity) and taxes.

What does the gross salary comprise?

Typically, an employer offers the salary under various heads, some of which are fixed (like basic pay) while others are paid out as a variable (such as a bonus). Moreover, the frequency can also vary. Components such as basic pay and HRA are paid monthly, while a bonus may be paid annually or bi-annually. Here are the most commonly found salary components on a typical payslip:

Basic Pay

The main, fixed, component of the gross salary. It also influences other elements such as HRA, EPF, etc.


Employers offer various allowances as part of the gross salary. House Rent Allowance (HRA) is probably the most common one that also helps reduce your tax liability. Other popular allowances include Dearness Allowance (DA), Conveyance allowance, Medical allowance, Internet / Mobile Phone Allowance, Entertainment Allowance, and Leave Travel Allowance (LTA)

Performance Incentives or Bonuses

This should be self-explanatory - it’s everything that your employer promises you in return for an outstanding performance.

Example calculation of gross salary

For the purpose of illustration, here is a sample CTC letter that amounts to an annual package of ₹ 11.75 lakhs.

S. No.

Salary Component

Annual Amount 


Basic Pay



House Rent Allowance (HRA)



Special allowance



Mobile phone Allowance 



Medical Allowance



Conveyance Allowance



Provident Fund Contribution (PF)





If you recall the definition of gross salary, it includes all components that are paid to you but do not include the deduction for EPF and gratuity. This means you need to add all the salary components from serial numbers 1 to 6 to get your annual gross salary. Or, you can add the contribution to EPF and gratuity, and subtract the result from your overall CTC. In either case, you will get a gross salary ₹11.02 lakhs

Gross salary is not what is deposited into your account each month. That amount is known as the net salary or the in-hand salary. Basically, it is the gross salary minus the mandatory tax deductions.


Knowing the different salary terms and components help you, as an employee, to plan your monthly finances. It also helps you understand your overall package to conduct salary negotiations at your future place of work. For the employers, the gross salary helps understand the salary obligations and the employee's cost to the company, so that they can accurately project their net earnings minus the liabilities.

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Frequently asked questions

What is another name for gross salary?

Gross salary is also known as gross pay. It is the sum of all your earnings (both fixed and variable). It includes direct benefits such as basic pay, HRA, and other allowances that are paid out monthly, plus indirect benefits such as meal vouchers or performance bonuses that might be paid out at a varying frequency. It also contains any arrears or overtime that you may be entitled to.

What is the salary? Give an example

In exchange for the services rendered, a company pays its employees a set sum of money at a predetermined date each month. This is known as a salary. The salary can be of various types and forms. It can be a fixed, flat structure or (as is usually the case) contain various fixed and variable components. Apart from the earnings, there are some deductions that form a part of the salary from the employer’s perspective. These deductions include TDS and contribution to retirement savings funds. Adding them all together, you get the total cost to the company, or the CTC of the employee.

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