Recently, my wife has been working for a local day care; she's hourly and gets paid biweekly. Since she started a few months ago, she has been paid by direct deposit a few times but has received no pay stubs. I realize that pay stubs are not required in the U.S., but what assurance do we have that they are paying her the correct hourly wage, paying her overtime, acknowledging all of her hours, or that they are performing the IRS withholdings correctly?

Should she be keeping track of the hours herself? In that case, it's going to be hard to calculate the correct take-home pay. Can we request some form of documentation from her employer? I assume they're still required to send us a W2 next January, but the W2 doesn't have enough information to show that they did everything correctly for the entire previous year.

I would worry less if this was an established chain of day cares, but AFAIK this local day care has only one location, and I don't have any reason to trust them (or not to trust them, I guess, but still).

What are our options here?

  • 3
    Is there any chance that the pay stubs are available in digital form? Is their payroll processed in-house, or by an outside company (eg, ADP)?
    – Kent A.
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 15:34
  • 6
    Maybe you could just ask the employer for a pay stub?
    – JohnFx
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 15:41
  • 2
    Just because the law does not require pay stubs, does not mean that your wife cannot demand one as a condition of continued employment. Either they are doing the calculations, in which case it shouldn't be a big deal for them to share with her; or they don't, in which case they are operating illegally and she should probably stop working there.
    – stannius
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 17:25
  • 2
    Jumping in with the above comments here. Pay stubs aren't required, but the information must be documented somewhere. I don't know if there's a law that requires them to provide the information upon request, but I wouldn't be surprised. You can simply ask for either a pay stub or the documented hours she worked during the pay period
    – Noah
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 18:03
  • 2
    Some states do require that employers provide pay stubs. Check your specific state here.
    – Chuu
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 21:56

2 Answers 2


I think this issue warrants a more canonical answer. If you are an hourly employee working in the U.S., and if for some reason you do not receive a pay stub with your first paycheck, I recommend the following steps:

  1. Check whether your state requires that employers provide a pay stub. (Note that not all states have this requirement, and note that the federal government also does not require it.)
  2. Approach your supervisor and request a pay stub. It's possible they forgot or a mistake was made, so don't be hostile.
  3. If your supervisor says "no" you will do one of the following, depending on the results from step 1:

For us personally, our state does require a pay stub, so my wife should be able to get a pay stub if she asks for it. ("Approach your supervisor" in step #2 is the hard part, as some introverts may notice.)

This answer is a combination of helpful suggestions from @jmg229, @Chuu, @KentAnderson, and @JohnFx. I'm not sure if Stack Exchange likes "summary answers" like this, so please comment if I should not mark this as the answer.

Update: My wife finally asked. Turns out she had a mailbox with all of her pay stubs in it. :)

  • Your answer seems perfectly reasonable to me. Nothing wrong with summarizing like this if no answer specifically covers the same ground.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 20:27

I would start by tracking hours. Then try a paycheck calculator like https://www.paycheckcity.com. If you know your withholdings (don't forget if they pull for anything like health/dental benefits), your hourly rate, and your hours, you should be able to find the proper tax withholdings and take-home.

I would also recommend tracking hours and trying to align with the W-2 in January, as you said, even though that does not really solve the immediate concerns.


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