What is a Pay Stub? HR Terms | All you need to Know

Pay Stubs are nothing more than the paperwork you must give employees when you pay their salaries. 

It transparently conveys all calculations made for the final payout between a business and an employee. Details include the employee’s salary, all taxes paid, and all deductions eliminated. 

To explain payroll taxes and other deductions to their employees, an employer must be familiar with all the phrases on a pay stub. 

Pay stubs essentially enable firms to maintain a transparent record of payroll data. Employees may readily grasp how much they will be paid using this highly practical method.

In this article, we have compiled everything you need to know about Pay Stubs in 2023. 

What Is A Pay Stub?

An employee’s paycheck includes a pay stub that breaks down key information such as the employee’s wages, taxes, and deductions.

It shows the specific computations that went into the final payout. Because it is the sole formal record that establishes openness regarding the labor performed and the compensation received, a pay stub is a crucial document. 

The mandatory data that must be shown on a pay stub differs depending on the state’s regulations. It could be a paper bill or an online form. The company’s payroll records may also include a copy of the pay stubs.

Read also: What is Retrenchment? All You Need To Know.

What Are Pay Stubs Used For?

Pay stubs, which serve as a record of salaries and hourly rates, are given to employees. Pay stubs help employees comprehend and analyze all taxes and deductions, as well as determine if they have been fairly compensated by the employer. 

The pay stubs, on the other hand, can be used as evidence by the company to resolve any pay dispute issues with the employees. Additionally, it assists the business in addressing any pay-related queries from the state or other governmental entities.

What are the Things To Be Included On A Pay Stub?

A pay stub offers a variety of details about the employee’s final compensation. The employee receives it along with their paycheck. The information that appears on a pay stub is listed below. 

Pay Period Start and End Date

It displays the beginning and conclusion of the pay period. For salaried workers, who receive the same amount of money for a certain period, this paragraph is crucial.

Most employers pay their employees monthly or biweekly, and the start and finish dates of each pay period are indicated in this section of the pay stub. 

Pay Rate

The employee’s rate of pay for their specific work is known as their pay rate (sometimes referred to as wage rate). It displays the employee’s hourly or salary rate of pay.

Number Of Hours Worked

This is an indication of how many hours the employee put in during that pay period. 

Other Compensation

Everything is listed under this area of the pay stub, including bonuses, overtime pay, and holiday pay received in addition to normal salary. Keep in mind that a good pay stub will clearly state the pay rate, the number of hours worked, and the net compensation.

Net Pay

An employee’s ultimate take-home pay, or rather the amount shown on their paycheck or directly transferred into their bank account as their salary, is known as their net pay. 

Taking taxes and other deductions out, it is the total amount. On a pay stub, the present net pay as well as the total net pay for the year are typically stated. The employee can use this to understand their salary and double-check its correctness. 

Gross Earnings

It is the total amount earned by an employee before withholding or taxation. Frequently, this compensation exceeds the employee’s base wage. Bonuses, payroll advances, and overtime compensation are all covered under the section on gross earnings. For hourly and salaried employees, there are numerous ways to calculate gross wages. 

  • Salaried Employee: The amount is determined by dividing the annual salary by the number of pay periods in the year.
  • Hourly Employee: An hourly worker’s gross pay is determined by multiplying their hourly wage by the amount of hours they put in. 

Year-To-Date Payroll Earnings

This section of the pay stub shows how much money an employee has made overall from the start of the year (in January) to the present.

Withhold For Federal, State, and Local Taxes

Frequently, taxes are shown as a deduction on a pay stub for an employee. These deductions equal the total amount of taxes the employee must pay to the federal, state, and local governments. The most obligatory tax is the federal income tax, popularly known as the “pay-as-you-go tax”.

As a result, this tax is deducted from each paycheck and delivered straight to the IRS regulatory. The contractors are often in charge of withholding the taxes.  

FICA Tax Deductions

According to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), every time an employee receives a paycheck, a payroll deduction is required. Social Security and Medicare are paid for with the money earned from taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines the FICA tax rates.

Deduction For Benefits

Other deductions depend on the employee benefits your company offers to small and large businesses. Retirement plans or insurance payments are two common examples of benefits. Before other taxes, the contribution for these benefits is deducted from the employee’s paycheck. These benefit deductions are subject to change based on the employer and corporate policy.


An itemized breakdown of each party’s financial contribution to benefits must appear on a pay stub. Employee contributions may be made in the form of FUTA, SUTA, FICA, 401(k), and other taxes. The amount of the employer’s contribution may change depending on the benefits offered.

While an employee’s contribution is withdrawn from their paycheck, the employer’s contribution is itemized as a percentage of their gross compensation. On the pay stub, each contribution should be itemized. 

Wage Garnishments

The government selects an employer to deduct wages. Any money owed, such as back taxes or unpaid loans, is deducted by the employer, who then transfers it to the government on the employee’s behalf. 

Every pay stub typically contains a number of significant acronyms and abbreviations, including the following:

  • FT or FED is the Federal Tax
  • FICA is the Federal Insurance Contributions Act
  • ST is a State Tax
  • SS is Social Security
  • EIN is Employee Identification Number
  • OT is Overtime
  • MWT (sometimes referred to as Med) is Medicare

See also: What is Conflict Management in Organization Settings?

How Does A Pay Stub Look?

Pay stubs often include details on both the employee and the employer, including the employee’s name, address, and social security number and the employer’s name and address. 

Pay stubs vary depending on industry standards and state employment rules. A pay stub must contain a unique identifier for each section. Here are several elements that can be used to build a good pay stub.

Business Information

The business details of the organization must appear on a pay stub. It suffices to provide information like the business’s name and location of its headquarters. 

The corporate logo on the pay stubs can help to improve and add something unique to the pay stub. Even the smallest elements can have a significant impact.

Employee Information

An employee’s name, phone number, social security number, and residential address are all listed on the pay stub. A pay stub may also include tax deductions.

Pay Period/Pay Date

It is required to include both the payment date and the pay period (from what date to what date is the employee paid?).

Hours and Earnings

how many hours the individual worked for that specific time frame and how much their total income was. 

Tax Deduction

This is the section where all taxes must be disclosed along with their calculation. The year-to-date deductions as well as the current deductions should both be listed on the pay stub. The deduction must be listed specifically on a pay stub so that the employees may see how much of their gross pay has been deducted.

Other Withholdings

The employee’s contribution and any further withholdings (if any) may also be shown on the pay stubs. It is optional to mention the employee’s contributions to certain areas, but it is possible.

Payroll Earnings

Payroll earnings must be at the end and a little distinctive from the rest of the other components. It needs to show the earnings, deduced amount, and net pay.

How To Create A Pay Stub?

A pay stub can be made by a corporate or small business in a variety of ways. You may quickly and easily produce some of the best pay stubs with the aid of software programs. 

The concept of manually calculating wages, taxes, and deductions may be holding down your company’s ability to implement its strategies, thus it may be advantageous to outsource a job exclusively for pay stubs.

The functionality and costs of the various software services vary. There is a lot of well-known software that offers fantastic pay stub services that link your time-tracking and point of sale (POS) system.

Are Pay Stubs Required By Law?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to maintain accurate records of their employees’ hourly wages and compensation for up to three years. 

Pay stubs play a key part in this situation because they fully comply with the FSLA Act’s standards yet are not mandated at the federal level. 

However, 26 states require a pay stub to be submitted, and an additional 11 states require pay stub records to be in physical, paper form. There are various legal criteria in each state. 

An employee has full authority to view the payroll information, which the employer cannot object to, even if the pay stubs are not routinely submitted to the state.

This is because any corporation or business that doesn’t provide openness regarding employee wages is viewed suspiciously by the authorities. Therefore, the criteria for pay stubs differ by state, but companies must be prepared to provide the payroll data upon request. 

For instance, the state government of New York mandates that each pay stub for a restaurant establishment include a line for tips and wages earned. The “credits” or “allowances” section of the pay stub must include a list of any meals or uniforms provided by the employer.  

Eleven states demand a physical/paper pay stub as proof:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Washington

States other than these do not require information to be provided on paper. Employers can send the information electronically provided that all the employees have access to it. 

How Long Should Be The Pay Stubs?

The employers must keep copies of the pay stubs or payroll for a minimum of four years. This is so that employees can comply with the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) mandate to “keep records of employment taxes for at least four years after filing the [fourth] quarter for the year.” 

Other regulations under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) have made it necessary for companies to keep the pay stubs or payroll records of employees for at least three years. 

Employers are required to maintain records on job assessments, wage rates, seniority, and the merit system in addition to payroll records. This information is kept to explain the rationale of paying employees of various genders under the same organization. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the last federal agency to mandate employers to keep their personnel files. The commission states that if an employee is let go involuntarily, the employer must maintain the data for one year after the employee’s termination date. 

Beyond pay stubs, all the information that must be kept is necessary. It’s quite helpful for the workplace atmosphere and the relationship between employees and their employers to continue keeping track of pay stubs and payroll periods. 

Read also: What is Voluntary Time Off | VTO in an Office

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Can I Create a Pay Stub?

Paycheck stubs for your employees can be created using specialized payroll software that has a professional appearance. Both premium packages and a variety of free tools are accessible.
After choosing a pay stub generator, just enter all the necessary data, and the program will produce a paycheck stub for you. Then, you can email or print these pay stubs for your employees.

How Do I Determine My YTD Income From a Pay Stub?

On a pay stub for an employee, look at the gross wages column to find the year-to-date (YTD) earnings. Simply add up each employee’s year-to-date earnings as shown on their pay stubs to determine the total YTD income for all of your staff members.

How Can I Determine My AGI From a Pay Stub?

Subtract the total of the employee’s deductions from their gross pay to determine their adjusted gross income (AGI) from their pay stub. The AGI is the total taxable income of an employee.

How Can I Get a Pay Stub?

You ought to be able to access your employees’ pay stubs online via the payroll system if you use payroll software.
If your firm has a payroll system, you can typically obtain pay stubs through it if you’re an employee. Pay stubs may be password-protected for security reasons. You could occasionally get a paper pay stub instead.
It’s important to bear in mind that in some areas, companies must retain their employees’ pay stubs on file.

What should you do in the absence of pay stubs?

Employees might ask their employer for copies of pay stubs if they need to provide proof of their income but don’t have any. Lenders will also occasionally accept bank records or copies of prior tax returns.

What should you do if your pay stub is lost?

Pay statements include private data that might be used in identity theft. It’s crucial to keep them in a secure location and get rid of them safely. Employees who misplace pay stubs might wish to check their credit report, notify their bank, and contact the credit reporting agencies so that they can look out for any unusual behavior.  


By making it simple for employees to get the necessary information, which is supplied on a pay stub, an employer may help to reduce the stress associated with such trying circumstances. 

Pay stubs can also be quite helpful for pointing out and correcting any form of payroll problem and drawing attention to it. Additionally, it aids in determining whether a sum is unusually low or large and protects the business from IRS fines and employee disputes. 

Pay stubs act as receipts for the employees and give your company liability. These can also answer any queries a worker may have concerning taxes, withholdings, net pay, etc. Always check that the pay stub shows the correct amounts and other pertinent information.



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