True or False: Federal law doesn’t require employers to provide employees with pay stubs.
Answer: 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, they must keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid to employees.
This doesn’t mean employees don’t have a right to see their wages 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:
No requirement states
The southern states of:
- South Dakota
The above states have no requirements regarding pay stubs. While an employer can provide pay stubs to employees, they are not required to.
The following twenty-six states (over half of the nation) require employers to provide their employees with a pay stub, though 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.
|Kansas||New Jersey||West Virginia|
Paystub states that require printed/written format
The following eleven 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.
Delaware, Minnesota, and Oregon provide employees 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 a written or printed pay stub with details of the employee’s pay information unless they agree to receive their pay stub electronically.
What’s in a paystub?
A pay stub is a pay statement that itemizes the details of each pay period’s wages. It typically contains the:
- 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?
As we stated earlier, 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 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 paystubs, that data should be accessible and made available to the employee.”
Consequences of non-compliance
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. If an employer isn’t required to provide employees with pay stubs, should an employee request access, it’s good practice to allow them to review their records.
*This article provides general information on state pay stub requirements and is not intended as legal counsel. We advise you to consult a legal advisor if you have questions.