Does My Employer Have to Give Me A Pay Stub? - The Full Guide


A pay stub is a document that provides an employee with an itemized breakdown of earnings and taxes. With an accurate pay stub, an employee can access information regarding hours worked, and wages paid. A pay stub can be incredibly useful for both an employer and an employee.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer is not required to provide a pay stub. However, many states have their own laws regarding pay stubs, and the majority have made pay stubs a requirement. The details of these laws vary from state to state, although some have not made pay stubs a necessity.

To learn the laws for your own state, and whether you should be receiving a pay stub, read this guide. An employer may face a large fine if they’re failing to provide you with the correct information. This guide also covers what to expect from your pay stub, and what to do if you aren’t granted access.

Also read: Create Your Own Pay Stub Template

What is a pay stub?

A pay stub is a complementary document to a paycheck, providing details regarding an employee's wages. A pay stub is also known as a check stub, or a wage statement. A pay stub should include detailed and correct information about the employee's hours worked, wages earned, taxes, and deductions.

Although a pay stub accompanies an employee paycheck, it has no value itself.

A pay stub can be provided in paper form, or as an online document. However, the exact rules regarding how the pay stub is given vary from state to state. An employee may be asked to choose how they receive their pay stub, or it may be determined by law.

Included in the pay stub are details that allow an employee to keep track of their wages, including any taxes and deductions. A pay stub generally needs to include:

  • The employee's name and social security number.

  • The name and address of the employer.

  • The start and end dates of the pay period.

  • Gross earnings (pay before any deductions).

  • Federal, state, and local taxes.

  • Deductions (e.g. insurance).

  • Contributions (e.g. retirement or pension plans).

  • Net pay (pay after deductions).

Also read: What Are the Main Differences Between Salary and Hourly Paystubs?

man pointing to screen

Does my employer have to give me a pay stub?

An employer is not required by federal law to provide a pay stub. The Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA), does not require private, federal, state, and local government employers to provide a pay stub.

However, employers are still expected to keep detailed and thorough records of wages and hours worked. Record keeping is subject to strict requirements under federal law.

With that said, the majority of states have elected to enforce a requirement for pay stubs. In these states, the employer is expected to provide their employee with a detailed pay stub. However, the exact details of this law vary from state to state.

To put it simply, federal law does not require employers to provide a pay stub, but state law often does.

Also read: What is The Importance Of Keeping Your Pay Stub?

In what states are employers required to give you a pay stub?

The state laws regarding pay stubs are variable, and this is where things can get complicated. State law varies from no pay stub needed at all, to detailed requirements for how the pay stub is provided.

It’s important to understand the laws for the state in which you are employed. For that reason, we’ve provided a detailed break-down of the laws by state.

First, the states which have no specific requirement:

  • Alabama

  • Arkansas

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Louisiana

  • Mississippi

  • Ohio

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

In these states, pay stubs are not a legal necessity. However, an employer may still provide one if they choose to.

The following states do have a pay stub requirement. However, there’s no specific state requirement regarding how that pay stub is delivered:

  • Alaska

  • Arizona

  • Idaho

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Kansas

  • Kentucky

  • Maryland

  • Michigan

  • Missouri

  • Montana

  • Nebraska

  • Nevada

  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • North Dakota

  • Oklahoma

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • Utah

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia

  • Wisconsin

  • Wyoming

A pay stub in these states may be given in written, printed, or electronic form. 

person typing

The following states require that the pay stub is written or printed. However, many also allow an electronic pay stub if it can be printed:

  • California

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • Iowa

  • Maine

  • Massachusetts

  • New Mexico

  • North Carolina

  • Texas

  • Vermont

  • Washington

In these states, an employee has the right to opt-out of receiving an electronic pay stub, and request a paper stub instead:

  • Delaware

  • Minnesota

  • Oregon

Finally, in Hawaii, an employee has to opt in before receiving an electronic pay stub. Otherwise, the employer has to provide a written or printed pay stub.

As you can see, despite the lack of federal law, most states have their own legal requirement regarding pay stubs.

Also read: How Can You Tell If Someone Is Using A Counterfeit Pay Stub

Do I have the right to ask for a pay stub?

If you live in a state without a law regarding pay stubs, you may be interested in the exact details of your pay. While you can request your pay stub, the employer has no legal requirement to provide you with one. However, you can ask for access to your payroll record.

The payroll record is maintained by the employer, and includes the details you would expect to find on a pay stub. The FLSA does require employers to maintain a thorough payroll record. In most states, employees have to provide employers with access to their payroll record. In some states, such as Illinois, employees have a legal requirement to comply with the request within a certain number of days.

In other states, an employee must make a written request to view payroll records. For example, in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and Rhode Island, this is the law. 

In Delaware, Minnesota, and Oregon, you have the right to opt out of receiving an electronic statement. An employee has the legal right to a written or printed pay stub.

What to do if your employer refuses to give you access to your pay stub

In a state where a pay stub is a legal requirement, refusal to provide one can result in a hefty fine. If you have requested a pay stub from an employer, and you work in a state where pay stubs are a legal necessity, you should contact state law enforcement.

If you work in a state without a requirement, then things can be a little tricky. However, if you’ve made repeated requests to view the payroll, and you suspect there’s an error in wages, you should consider contacting HR, or speaking to a lawyer.

Even in states without a pay stub requirement, meticulous record keeping is a federal necessity. Therefore, all employers should keep detailed wage accounts.

calculator and sheets

Final Thoughts

A pay stub is a tool that can help you better understand your wages. Although it may not be a federal requirement, most states have made it a legal requirement. In these states, your employer must provide you with a pay stub.

Depending on the state, a pay stub may be given in written, printed, or electronic form. A pay stub should provide accurate information regarding your gross wages, any deductions, and your net wages. 

Pay stubs may seem like a small detail, but they’re vital to ensure you’re receiving the correct wage for your hours worked.

Frequently Asked Questions

Independent contractors are not typically provided with pay stubs, as they are not employees. However, they should receive a 1099 form from the company they worked for, detailing the income earned for tax purposes.

Many employers offer electronic pay stubs, which can be accessed through an online portal or sent via email. Check with your employer to see if they offer this option.

If your state requires employers to provide pay stubs, you can request one from your employer. If your state does not have specific pay stub laws, you can still ask your employer for a pay stub or a similar document for your records.

Yes, pay stubs can be used as proof of income for various purposes, such as loan applications, rental agreements, or government assistance programs.

You can check with your state's labor department or search for your state's pay stub laws online to determine if it's required.

The frequency at which you receive a pay stub will depend on your state's laws and your employer's payroll practices. Some states require pay stubs to be provided each pay period, while others have no specific frequency requirement.

No, providing a pay stub is not a federal requirement in the United States, but many states have their own laws regarding pay stubs.

A pay stub usually includes details such as gross pay, deductions (e.g., taxes, insurance, retirement contributions), and net pay for a specific pay period. It may also show year-to-date totals for each category.

A pay stub is a document provided by an employer that details an employee's earnings, deductions, and net pay for a specific pay period.

If you notice any errors on your pay stub, such as incorrect pay or deductions, you should notify your employer immediately to have the issue resolved.
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Does My Employer Have to Give Me A Pay Stub? - The Full Guide
James Wilson

After graduating from McCombs School of Business in Texas, James joined ThePayStubs as a CPA to make sure the numbers we provide our clients are correct. Read More

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