How To Get a Pay Stub

Updated July 31, 2023

As an employee, you're entitled to a pay stub that documents the income you earn from your employer. Having your pay stubs readily available can help you keep track of your income and make it easier for you to verify your pay with various third parties. In this article, we explain what a pay stub is, provide you with two ways to obtain your pay stub and explain how to get your pay stub from your previous employer.

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What is a pay stub?

A pay stub, also known as a paycheck stub or earnings statement, is a document that details your employee compensation. It essentially itemizes how much you were paid during a given pay period. You receive a pay stub when your employee issues a direct deposit to your financial account or when it's attached to your paycheck. Your pay stub often includes the following information:

  • How much you were paid during the associated payroll period

  • Your withdrawals or deductions such as your tax payments or insurance costs

  • Cumulative payments made during the year

Also, your pay stub may include sensitive information such as your social security number, your legal name, the name of your employer and the amount of money you made. Because of this information, it's important to keep your pay stub out of the wrong hands to prevent someone from stealing your identity.

Knowing the information a pay stub provides can help you track your income and ensure you're receiving what you're owed as an employee. You can also use your pay stubs to verify your identity or to prove your income. For example, many landlords or creditors want to see your pay stubs to confirm your income.

Related: What's Included in a Pay Stub and Other Frequently Asked Questions

How to get a pay stub

If you need your pay stub, you can go through your company's payroll department or locate them online on your own. While both methods ultimately provide you with proof of your income, the steps for obtaining your pay stubs with these methods differ. Here are two ways to obtain your pay stubs:

Through your employee website

Some employers don't provide their employees with paper pay stubs. In this case, they may have them stored electronically through a payroll service website. Here's how to get your pay stub electronically:

1. Ask your employer where you can find your pay stub

Find out where you can search for your pay stubs online. Ask your manager or the human resources department where you can locate them electronically. Typically, companies who house them electronically have them on a payroll service website which requires an employee login and password.

2. Access the website

Once you know where to find your pay stubs online, locate the website. Make sure you have your employee login and password. If you don't have this information, ask your company's human resources department to provide it for you.

3. Locate your pay stubs

After you've logged in, locate the part of the website that houses your pay stubs. From here, you can view your pay stubs or download them at your leisure.

Through your payroll department

If your employer doesn't have your pay stubs available electronically, you may have to contact your company's payroll department for further assistance. Use these steps to get your pay stubs through your payroll department:

1. Determine where you can find your pay stubs

Most likely, your employer has your pay stubs available online. If you can't find them, contact your payroll department.

2. Ask for copies of your pay stubs

Once you've contacted your company's payroll department, ask them if they can supply you with paper copies of your pay stubs. They may even be able to email them to you if you prefer an electronic copy.

3. Allow time for their retrieval

Whether you asked for paper copies of your pay stubs or for them to be emailed, give your payroll department time to get them to you. If you asked for paper pay stubs, it may take the department a while to locate them and print them depending on how many you asked for. If you asked for them to be emailed, the department will need time to locate them, scan them and email them to you.

Related: How To Request an Employment Verification Letter

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How to get a pay stub from your last employer

Since many third parties such as landlords or insurance companies ask to see your pay stubs to confirm your income, it's important to have them readily available. While it's easy to obtain them from your current employer, the process for obtaining them from your previous employer requires a few extra steps. Use these steps to get your pay stub from your last employer:

1. Contact your former employer

Contact your former employer or the company's human resources department. Ask them how you can obtain your previous pay stubs. If you need them by a certain date, ask them how long the request will take. In some cases, they may refer you to their payroll or accounting department.

2. Complete the necessary paperwork

Complete any paperwork the accounting department provides such as a pay stub request form. You may also have to create a pay stub request in writing. This should include the following information:

  • Your full name

  • Your current address

  • Your previous address (if you moved since your last employment)

  • Your social security number

  • Your former employee identification number

  • The pay period dates for the pay stubs you're requesting

If you're required to complete a request, you can send it in via email, regular mail, by fax or in person. Make sure to confirm the receipt of your request if you send it in via email, fax or regular mail.

3. File a complaint if necessary

If your employer doesn't comply with your request, file a complaint with your state's labor department. In this case, they'll be required to pay a violation fee.

Frequently asked questions

Can you retrieve your pay stubs from your bank?

Yes. You can retrieve a pay stub from a bank, especially if you receive direct deposits from your employer. You typically submit a request to your bank and it can retrieve the pay stub for you. You can also retrieve your pay stub directly from your employer's employee website or from the payroll department.

Are pay stubs proof of income?

Yes. Paystubs are the most common way people prove they have income, and most organizations requesting proof of income accept them. While they're not the only method for proving income, they're often the most easily accessible.

Are pay stubs confidential information?

Yes. Pay stubs have personally identifiable information (PII), so you should be careful about who you share them with. If you're an employer, you can't show these documents to clients. If you're an employee, only show your pay stubs to credible organizations that request them as proof of income.

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