As an employer, it is essential to provide accurate and detailed pay check stubs to your employees. Pay check stubs are crucial documents that outline important information about an employee's earnings, deductions, and taxes. Creating paystubs properly not only ensures compliance with legal requirements but also promotes transparency and trust within your workforce. 

To help you navigate this process effectively, we have compiled a list of dos and don'ts when creating pay check stubs for your employees.

What to Do When Creating Pay Check Stubs

1. Make Sure All Required Information is Included

Your employees’ paycheck stubs should include their name, social security number, pay rate, deductions, and your company information, including its address, contact information, and Employer Identification Number (EIN). 

Including this information, along with your company logo, makes their pay stubs look professional and legitimate which helps when employees are using them as proof of income for various purposes. 

2. Double Check Pay Period Dates

Always make sure the pay period is correct – if it’s not, employees may be under or overpaid. Aside from the potential of causing them financial difficulties and general inconvenience, it can also lead to errors in tax reporting which may result in fines. 

3. Clearly Display Earnings

Present a breakdown of an employee's earnings for the given pay period and include information about regular wages, overtime pay, commissions, bonuses, or any other additional earnings. This transparency ensures that employees understand how their wages are calculated.

4. Deduction Transparency

Clearly list all deductions made from an employee's earnings, including taxes, insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and any other authorized deductions. This allows employees to gain clarity about the deductions that apply to them which, again, promotes transparency in payroll processing.

5. Accurate Tax Calculations

Ensure that tax calculations are accurate and comply with relevant tax laws and regulations. Display details such as federal income tax, state income tax, Social Security contributions, Medicare contributions, and any other applicable taxes.

6. Provide Year-to-Date Information

Displaying year-to-date (YTD) information on pay stubs provides employees with an overview of their earnings and deductions throughout the year, which allows them to track their income accurately and reconcile it with their tax filings. 

YTD information also assists in calculating various benefits and entitlements that may be based on cumulative earnings, such as bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, vacation accruals, retirement contributions, and other benefits tied to income thresholds. So, by displaying YTD figures, employees can track their eligibility and ensure they receive the appropriate entitlements.

Finally, YTD information provides employees with a quick view of their overall earnings, helping them assess their progress towards retirement savings goals, for example. It’s also important in cases where W-2 forms are not available for any reason – the employee can instead complete Form 4852 and refer to their last paystub to prove their income for the year. 

7. Keep it Concise and Readable

Design the pay check stubs in a clear and organized manner, using legible fonts and appropriate formatting. A well-structured pay stub template makes it easier for employees to review and understand the information provided. LINK

8. Check Federal and State Guidelines about Paystubs 

Different states have different requirements for delivering pay check stubs to employees. For example, some mandate that paystubs must be provided in printed form, while in other states, electronic copies are sufficient. Check out our instant paystub generator for a quick and easy way to make check stubs online.  

What NOT to Do When Creating Pay Check Stubs

1. Don't Omit Essential Information 

Avoid leaving out critical details or abbreviating them to the point of confusion. All necessary information, including employee and employer names, should be displayed in full to avoid any ambiguity.

2. Don't Use Jargon or Complex Terminology

Ensure that the language used in the paystubs is clear and understandable; avoid using technical terms or acronyms that may be confusing or misleading. 

3. Don't Skip Overtime Calculations

If your employees are eligible for overtime pay, accurately calculate and clearly display the overtime hours worked and the corresponding rates. Failing to do so can lead to misunderstandings and disputes.

4. Don’t Incorrectly Classify Employee Status

Employers must accurately classify employees as either full-time, part-time, hourly, salaried, or independent contractors. Each of these classifications have specific implications for labor laws, so including this information on pay stubs helps in maintaining accurate records for future reference, such as for compliance audits or dispute resolution. It also provides accurate proof of employment status for staff when applying for rental agreements, loans, and other forms of credit. 

5. Don't Overlook Compliance Requirements

Payroll compliance is hardly the most exciting part of doing business, but it’s a necessary evil. Stay informed about the legal requirements and regulations governing pay check stubs in your jurisdiction. This also means keeping track of any regulatory changes that may affect your business. Failure to comply may result in fines or lawsuits. 

6. Don't Delay Distribution

Provide pay check stubs to your employees promptly and consistently with each pay period. The timely delivery of check stubs helps employees to manage their finances and will also increase their trust in your company and overall job satisfaction. 

With the right payroll software program, payroll processing is efficient and straightforward, reducing the chance of errors or delays.  

7. Don’t Use Poorly Designed Pay Check Stubs

Pay stubs should be clear, well-organized, and easy to understand. Employers may create pay stubs with complex or confusing formatting, making it challenging for employees to comprehend the details of their pay and deductions. Avoid this issue by using professional paystub templates


Creating accurate and comprehensive pay stubs is an important responsibility for employers. By following the guidelines discussed above, you can ensure that your employees receive clear and transparent information about their earnings, deductions, and taxes. 

Remember, pay check stubs not only serve as a legal requirement, but also contribute to building trust and helping employees manage their personal finances. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to make check stubs online, look no further – our instant paystub generator produces pay stubs in seconds. You can then email or download them immediately. Try it out today!