Your employer must give you a paycheck stub if it’s required in your state. Federal law does not mandate paycheck stubs for workers, but the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to keep accurate records of employees’ wages and hours worked. Your state might not require employer-issued pay stubs, but you have the right to request your payroll records. You want assurances that your wages, work hours, and tax and benefits deductions are correct.
Paycheck Stub Data
The information on your paycheck stub shows your pretax earnings, or gross pay, and your take-home earnings, or net pay. It also shows your federal, state and local tax payments and federal withholdings for Social Security and Medicare. If you’re enrolled in an employer-sponsored health care plan, your paycheck stub shows deductions for your portion of the coverage. “Year-to-date” entries show withholding totals at any point in the year. Many paycheck stubs include hourly wage rates and hours worked.
Payroll records must include the employees' full name, Social Security number, address, birth date if under 19, gender and occupation. Records for hourly employees must show such details as the time and day workweeks begin, the hours worked each day and the total hours worked for the week. Regular hourly pay rates and any rate changes for a pay period must be recorded. Total straight-time, both daily and weekly, weekly overtime, and wage additions and deductions must be included. Records also must show total wages per pay period, payment dates and the periods that any payments covered.
Eight states currently don’t require employers to provide pay stubs: Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia. Printed pay stubs are mandatory in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont. The remaining states require some type of pay stub, able to be accessed and printed electronically.
You have up to three years to see your payroll information. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division advises employers to keep payroll records for a minimum of three years. Records showing wage computations, such as time cards, wage additions and deductions, piece-work tickets and wage-rate tables and schedules should be kept for at least two years. The division occasionally conducts inspections. Employers may keep payroll records onsite or in an offsite, centralized location.
If your employer grants your request for payroll information and you find errors, contact your Human Resources department, if applicable. If your employer denies your request for information, contact your state’s labor department or the U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division at (1-866-487-9243).
Valerie Bolden-Barrett is a writer, editor and communication consultant specializing in best business practices, public policy, personal finance and career development. She is a former senior editor of national business publications covering management and finance, employment law, human resources, career development, and workplace issues and trends.