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 labor 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.
Penalties for Not Providing Paystubs
In California, the failure of an employer to provide paystubs to an employee is a misdemeanor punishable by a civil penalty of $50 for the first pay period in which a paystub is not provided and $100 in each subsequent pay period that a paystub is not provided, not to exceed $4,000 in total fines to the employer per employee.
Employer Not Providing Paystubs?
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California Wage Statement Requirements
California labor law requires that the following information be included in each itemized wage statement:
- Gross wages earned during the pay period
- Total hours worked by the employee, unless the employee is exempt
- The number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate, if the employee is compensated on a piece-rate basis
- All deductions
- Net wages earned
- The inclusive dates for the pay period
- Employee name and the last four digits of their Social Security Number or employee identification number
- The name and address of the employer
- All applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee
- The amount of accrued paid sick time, or “unlimited” if the employer provides unlimited paid sick leave
Requesting Your Payroll Records
Employers are further obligated by law to maintain copies of all employees’ itemized paystubs for a period of up to three years.
The law requires employers to provide employees with their payroll records on request, and no later than 21 days after the original request was made. Employees who are denied access to their payroll records after 21 days are entitled to recover a penalty from the employer in a civil action before a court.
California Labor Code Section 226 does not discuss prescriptions for digital or electronic wage statements. However, California’s Department of Labor Standards Enforcement has issued some guidance concerning the content of electronic paystubs and employees’ access to them:
- All electronic wage statements must include the same requisite information included in paper wage statements, and employers are similarly required to maintain copies of the digital wage statements for a period of up to three years.
- Employees must be given the option to receive paper wage statements at any time. Digital paystubs must be accessible to employees via personal or work computers and a website available at all times that is protected by a firewall.
- Employee access to the website must be free, including if the employee decides to print the statement, and controlled by unique and confidential employee identification or pin numbers.
Overtime on Paystubs
In California, employees are entitled to overtime wages anytime they work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.
California labor law requires employers to properly record any overtime hours worked and the dates of the pay period in which the overtime was worked on employees’ paystubs. Failure of an employer to properly record overtime on an itemized wage statement is considered a violation of the labor code, punishable by a civil penalty of $50 for the first violation and $100 for every subsequent violation, not to exceed $4,000 in total fines to the employer per employee.
Our Employment Experience
Our employment attorneys have been representing classes of employees in state and federal litigation against their employers for over 20 years.
We have successfully litigated employment cases concerning unpaid overtime, meal breaks, and business expenses; employee misclassification; and mass layoffs without proper notice, recovering millions of dollars on behalf of our clients against some of the world’s largest corporations.
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