Editor’s Note: Updated with links to help you and your employees with questions about pay stubs and withholdings.
Did you know that federal law doesn’t require employers to provide employees with pay stubs?
It’s true. Private employers and employers in federal, state and local governments are not required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide employee pay stubs.
Still, employers must keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid to employees. Fingercheck Payroll helps you do just that, with payroll automation that includes tax withholding.
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- Tax compliance on federal, state and municipal levels
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If you use Fingercheck for your payroll, pay stubs are available for your employees to view on the web or mobile applications.
The lack of a pay stub requirement doesn’t mean that employees don’t have a right to see their wage information, however. Most states have their own laws requiring employers to provide access to employee pay stubs.
Since pay stub requirements vary by state, we’ve compiled a list of pay stub requirements for employers in all 50 states.
States with pay stub requirements
There are nine states with no pay stub laws:
- South Dakota
An employer in these states can provide pay stubs to employees but is not required to do so.
States with pay stub requirements
The following 26 states require employers to provide their employees with a pay stub, although it is not specified that the pay stub is written or on paper. Many states have reasonably interpreted that employers can comply by providing either a written, printed or electronic pay stub, as long as the employee has access to view their pay stubs. Some state agencies require the capability to print electronic pay stubs.
States with requirements include:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
States that require printed or written pay stub format
The following 11 states require employers to provide a pay stub that is printed or written. However, most states allow employers to provide electronic pay stubs that can be printed (with access to a printer ensured by their employer). Some states require employees to give consent to receive pay stubs electronically.
The states that require printed or written pay stubs include:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
Delaware, Minnesota and Oregon provide employees with the right to opt out of receiving electronic pay stubs and receive paper pay stubs from their employer instead.
Hawaii is the sole state that requires employers to obtain employee consent before implementing an electronic paperless pay system. Employers must provide written or printed pay stubs with details of employees’ pay information unless they agree to receive their pay stub electronically.
What’s in a pay stub?
A pay stub is a pay statement that itemizes the details of each pay period’s wages. It contains essential information about earnings, deductions and financial details, making it crucial for effective financial management. For an overview, of paycheck withholdings and deductions, please see this article.
Pay stubs typically contain the following information:
- Beginning and end dates of the pay period
- Total gross earnings (pay before deductions)
- Net pay (pay after deductions)
- Federal taxes withheld
- State taxes withheld
- Local taxes withheld
- Deductions, including Insurance, Medicare, Social Security
- Contributions, such as to a retirement or pension plan
- Wage garnishments (such as child support)
- Total deductions
- Year-to-date payroll earnings
- A total number of hours worked for hourly workers and different types of hours worked, including regular, overtime, break time, double-time, etc.
- Pay rate
What’s required to be included in payroll records?
The FLSA requires that employers keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid to employees. The following data should be retained:
- Employee’s full name and social security number
- Address, including ZIP code
- Birthdate, if younger than 19
- Sex and occupation
- Time and day of the week when the employee’s workweek begins. Hours worked each day and total hours worked each workweek.
- The basis on which employee’s wages are paid
- Regular hourly pay rate
- Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings
- Total overtime earnings for the workweek
- All additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages
- Total wages paid each pay period
- Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment
What if an employee requests a copy of their payroll record?
In states that don’t require employers to provide employees with a pay stub, an employee should be granted access to the payroll records maintained under the FLSA’s recordkeeping requirements.
“While FLSA does not require the pay stub statement, most states require that the information be available to the employee, but not necessarily as a paper paystub,” says Attorney Eric D. Anderson of Eric D. Anderson Law, Ltd., who practices law in California.
“Electronic pay stubs or data are sufficient in most places. A denial of a request to access that information would be highly suspicious. Because the FLSA requires the employer to keep such records, even if they are not required to provide pay stubs, that data should be accessible and made available to the employee.”
Consequences of noncompliance
The consequences of non-compliance vary by state, but to give an example, California state law requires employers to provide payroll records within 21 calendar days if an employee requests them. Failure to provide copies of the payroll records entitles the employee to a $750 penalty, as well as a claim for injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees.
In most states, providing employees with pay stubs is a local requirement. Consequences for non-compliance vary, but it’s best to avoid a Department of Labor (DOL) audit. Even when an employer isn’t required to provide employees with pay stubs, it’s a good practice to allow employees to review their records if they request access.
* Note: This article provides general information on state pay stub requirements and is not intended as legal counsel. We advise you to consult a legal adviser if you have questions.