Pay stubs are an important part of all business operations, but most people have no idea what they are or how they are made. Whether you are an employee handling tax or representing an entire accounting or finance business, you will want to understand everything you can about pay stubs.
What are Pay Stubs?
A pay stub is the equivalent of a physical paycheck, something that provides proof of income alongside tax, salary, and overtime information. They can also keep track of things like hours worked, tips and extra wages earned, and any insurance that an employee might be paying.
Since pay stubs are kept as physical records, they can often be involved in checking how much an employee has been paid, as well as complying with certain federal laws (like those that require you to track how many hours each employee has worked).
In short, pay stubs are an outline of the details of each payment that employees get. Each employee has pay stubs of some kind, but businesses do not have to provide them to employees – they would get paid with or without a pay stub in their hands.
Why do they matter to employees?
Employees do not necessarily need to get a pay stub. While they can always ask if they know how to get a pay stub from their parent business, there is no federal law requiring that employers provide pay stubs with each payment.
Pay stubs are a record for both sides of the payment, and that can make them important for certain life decisions. Buying a car or putting a payment on a house can sometimes require a pay stub (or at least one specific set of information on a pay stub), as can many legal issues.
Pay stubs are valuable as either an employee or an employer, and many employees create their own stubs to build their own financial records even if they have not been issued them by their company. Pay stubs make it very easy to track your own income, loans, credit, finances, and deductions.
Why do they matter to businesses?
The information recorded on pay stubs is often a legal requirement, and they are important for building up a decent record of how employees have been paid. If an employee claims that they have not been paid enough, then turning to pay stub records is the best way to check if this is true.
Pay stubs are also important for employees that might be hired under different pay rates or with different payment agreements entirely. If one employee is paid by the hour and another has a regular salary, then different calculations are involved in paying them the correct amount.
These records are important for many different legal situations and can be a valuable set of details to have if claims are made against the company. They act as hard evidence of previous payments, wages, and salaries and contain a lot of useful payment information.
What information does a pay stub contain?
A pay stub contains a wide variety of information concerning tax, accounting information, finance, payments, and company-specific details. For example, the average pay stub will contain:
- Employee details, such as their name, payment-related info, address, and sometimes their role at the company.
- Information about their pay rate. This will change depending on the job and role that they do and whether they are salaried or wage-based.
- Gross earnings, the amount that the employees have earned before having anything removed for tax or insurance reasons.
- Taxes and other withheld funds.
- Contributions towards retirement plans or other long-term payments.
- Deductions, if the employee has any.
- The overall net pay, the amount that the employee actually gets ‘in their pocket’ at the end of the day.
Pay stubs also need to contain certain details that might not be standard for every company or method of payment. For example, it might have to show off the hourly rate and the number of hours that an employee has worked, or if they earned any overtime.
This required information varies from state to state, so it is a good idea to look into local laws if possible. This could include things like sick pay or other sources of funds that might not be included on a standard pay stub.
All of this information needs to be freely accessible to both the employee and the employer. For example, if an employee asked to see their stubs, then an employer would need to provide either physical or digital copies –an employee may need them for serious legal reasons.
Do employers need to provide pay stubs?
Employers do not have to provide pay stubs in some states, but in others, it is a legal requirement. Even if an employer does not legally have to provide one, it is important to hand a copy over if an employee contacts HR or accounting to get the information they need.
For employees, pay stubs are a record of wages, deductions, and other information that directly impacts them. It also acts as proof of both their employment and income, two things that can be important for getting financial loans or improving their credit.
In states that require employees to show pay stubs, they can either be an “access state” (stubs need to be provided digitally or physically) or an “access/print state” (stubs can be provided either way, but employees need to be given a way to print digital stubs).
How can I create stubs?
It can be tough to put together a pay stub without a reference point. Knowing how to get a pay stub can seem daunting at first, but there are many online sites that make it easy to generate them without having to put together your own system first.
These sites make creating a pay stub a very simple process, and they can become a core part of recording your own financial information. As an employee, you can even create your own to help track your income, and having good financial records can make a big difference in the long term.
If you think you need pay stubs, then you probably do. Whether you represent a company or just work for one, generating pay stubs with online tools can be a great way to learn the process and understand what kind of details a good pay stub should include.