A wage statement or pay stub summarizes the amount of money you earned and the deductions your employer withheld from your paycheck. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division provides an optional Wage Statement form for employers to use.

California Labor Code §226 lists the information that employers must include on a California employee’s pay stub. Employers who do not comply with the requirements for wage statements or pay stubs could be subject to a wage claim by their employees.

Required Information for California Pay Stubs and Wage Statements

Employers must include the following mandatory information on pay stubs in California:

Employee and Employer Identification 

The wage statement must include the employee’s full name and the last four digits of the employee’s Social Security Number or an employee identification number. The statement must also include the employer’s name and address. 

Payment Period

The person’s pay period must include the beginning and ending date of the pay period covered by the earnings.

Hourly Rates

All applicable hourly rates must be included on the wage statement, including the number of hours worked within each hourly pay rate.

Total Hours Worked

The wage statement must include the total hours worked during the pay period. Wage statements for salaried and exempt employees do not require this item. Also, some employees exempt from minimum wage and overtime might not require this information on their pay stubs.

Gross Wages

The pay stub must include the gross wages earned by the employee for the specific pay period. This amount is before any wage deductions or withholdings.

Wages include all amounts as payment for work or services performed for an employer. Wages can include:

  • Hourly pay rates
  • Commissions
  • Overtime pay rates
  • Fixed salaries
  • Piece-rate payments
  • Payments based on a project or task

Wages could also include any money the person might receive as part of their compensation. Examples could include room, clothing, and board.

Itemized Deductions and Withholdings

Each amount withheld from the employee’s pay must be itemized on the pay stub, including tax withholdings, insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and other deductions.

Net Wages

The amount of the net wages after deductions and withholding must also appear on the pay stub.

Accrued Paid Sick Leave or Paid Time Off

The employer must also include on the pay stub or a separate written document provided each payday the amount of accrued paid sick time or paid time off the employee has earned. An employer providing unlimited paid time off may include “unlimited” on the wage statement to satisfy this requirement. 

Special Rules for Pay Stubs for Piece-Rate Employees in California 

Some employees receive a specific amount for each piece they produce or work on or each task they perform. As such, pay stubs for piece-rate employees must also include the number of piece-rate units earned during the pay period and the applicable piece rate for each unit.

Additionally, a piece-rate employee is entitled to information regarding their pay for the time spent doing tasks unrelated to their piece-rate work. These tasks must be paid at a minimum wage rate or higher, including nonproductive time and rest & recovery periods.

Therefore, additional information must be provided on the pay stub, including:

  • The total hours spent as compensable recovery and rest periods
  • The total hours spent working in compensable nonproductive time
  • The rate for hours paid in each category
  • The gross wages paid for recovery periods, rest periods, and nonproductive time 

The pay stubs should separate the rates for piece or task-based pay and hourly wages for compensable time based on nonproductive time or paid rest and recovery periods. In addition, it must be clear what amounts are included in the employee’s gross wages.

Exemption from Pay Stubs for Household and Home Services 

Generally, the laws regarding pay stubs do not apply to individuals hired by a homeowner to provide services related to the home’s maintenance, ownership, or use. Homeowners are not required to provide pay stubs to contractors hired to work on their homes. 

Likewise, there is an exception for individuals hired to care for children, such as live-in au pairs and nannies. 

Penalties for Failing to Provide Pay Stubs in California 

Employees could receive a penalty payment from an employer if the employee sustained an injury because of the employer’s knowing and intentional failure to provide the required pay stub.

The employee is entitled to $50 for the initial pay period the violation occurs and $100 for each subsequent pay period a violation occurs up to a total of $4,000. The employee may also recover any actual damages, if any.

In addition to the penalty paid to the employee, employers could face civil penalties imposed by the state for violations of the wage statement requirements.

A San Diego wage and hour dispute lawyer can investigate the matter to advise you of your legal rights and options for holding an employer accountable for violations of the California Labor Code.

To learn more, call our San Diego law firm at (619) 693-7727 or contact us online.

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About The Author

Nicholas J. Ferraro

Nicholas J. Ferraro is a skilled labor and employment lawyer and the founder of Ferraro Vega Employment Lawyers, Inc. Based in San Diego, he focuses on representing employees in class action and collective litigation cases. Education: Mr. Ferraro attended the University of San Diego School of Law, where he was a member of the San Diego Law Review. Experience: Over a decade of legal practice, representing more than 100,000 employees. Court Admissions: Mr. Ferraro represents his clients throughout the State of California and the State of Washington. He is a member of the State Bar of California. Community Involvement: Active member of the California Employment Lawyers Association and the San Diego County Bar Association.