Employers typically include a check stub or equivalent statement along with each employee’s paycheck, whether it comes in the form of a paper document or an online one for paychecks that are issued via direct deposit. Check stubs are documents that may be required to satisfy government recordkeeping requirements. Even when retaining check stubs isn’t mandatory, it still may be prudent to do so.
The federal government does not have a rule requiring employers to issue or retain paycheck stubs. Fair Labor Standards Act requirements provide guidelines for payroll documentation. In general, payroll information must be kept for three years. If check stubs are used to record some of this data, they have to be retained for three years as well. Payroll records must include:
- Employee name, address and Social Security number.
- The employee's gender and occupation.
- The date of birth of workers under age 19.
- The date and time each work week begins and ends. The date the payroll period starts is required if different than the work week.
- The date the employee is paid
- Daily and weekly hours worked.
- The employee's pay rate.
- Regular wages, overtime pay and any additions to or deductions from the employee's pay.
Employers must keep time cards or the equivalent record of time worked for two years.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers must keep all employment records, including check stubs and payroll records, for at least one year. In the event an employee files a complaint with the EEOC, records have to be retained until one year after final disposition of the matter by the EEOC or one year after any lawsuit is settled.
States can impose additional recordkeeping requirements. For example, the Texas Workforce Commission says employers must provide workers with a check stub or equivalent document that lists all of the data used to prepare a paycheck. Payroll records have to be kept for four years to comply with Texas unemployment compensation record keeping rules.
A business or organization produces checks and check stubs for a variety of reasons. The Internal Revenue Service recommends that check stubs and bank records that serve as supporting documents for tax purposes be retained for the period of limitations. For example, the period of limitations for tax returns is six years. Nolo.com suggests that businesses keep check stubs and financial records for at least seven years.