A paystub, or wage statement, is a breakdown of an employee’s earnings in a pay period. Both federal and California state law require that employers keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid for each employee.
Federal wage and hour law under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to provide pay stubs or itemized wage statements to employees.
However, under California labor law, employers are obligated provide these records to employees each pay period in an itemized wage statement. Itemized wage statements may be provided digitally, or on paper in a separate document or as a detachable portion of the paycheck. Both employees who receive paper checks and employees who receive paychecks through direct deposit are entitled to receive itemized wage statements every pay period under California paystub law. The paystub must include:
- Name and address of the employer
- Employee’s name and social security number
- Dates included in the pay period
- Gross wages, net wages and all deductions
- Total hours worked in that pay period
- Total wages paid in that pay period
Employers who don’t provide the above information can face substantial penalties, which employees can collect from their employer.
What to do if employer won't give pay stub or refuses to give paystub?
If an employer refuses to give paystubs, the employee may be able to sue in a court of law to obtain those records and may be eligible to collect penalties for the employer not giving pay stubs. The possible penalties may vary depending on state law. California paystub laws, for example, provides penalties of up to $4,000 for employers who refuse to give paystubs.
Can I view my personnel file?
Under California labor law and many other states’ laws, current and former employees have the right to inspect or copy personnel files and employment records pertaining to them, upon reasonable request to the employer.
In California, employers are required to comply with a current or former employee’s request as soon as possible, but no later than 21 calendar days from the date of request. Employers can also be penalized for failure to permit current or former employees to inspect or copy personnel files when a request is made.
In some states the employee must make a written request to view personnel records (such as sending an email or letter). Those states include: California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota and Rhode Island. In some states, the employer sets the policy for how personnel records must be requested. Those states include: Delaware, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Some states require employers to comply with a personnel file request within a tight timeframe: Illinois requires an employer provide personnel files within 7 days, and Masschussetts requires the employee receive their records within 5 business days of requesting them.
What if my paystubs are online?
Today many employees have their paychecks directly deposited into the bank and only have access to their paystubs online. Employers can generally provide online paystubs, but the employee must be able to request paper copies or must have a private location at work at which to print their paystub.