Full Guide on How to Get Pay Stubs from Previous Employers
October 02, 2023
Pay stubs are essential requirements when applying for loans and renting an apartment. Since acquiring paycheck records can be trickier while you are unemployed, in this article, we’ll share some information on how to get pay stubs from your previous employer.
The first thing is to learn how to send a formal request to your last employer, and you should also get familiar with the applicable pay stub laws in your area.
For the rest of the pointers and steps, continue reading this article until the very end.
- Steps to getting pay stubs from your last employer include identifying the correct contact person, drafting and emailing a pay stub request letter, and conforming with your previous employer’s payroll policies.
- Using a pay stub generator, logging into your employer’s payroll service website, and contacting your bank are alternative ways to acquire your pay stubs.
- It is best to request copies of your pay stubs as soon as you can after leaving your job. It might be difficult to try and retrieve your paycheck records after three or more years.
How to Get Pay Stubs From a Previous Employer
There are different ways to get pay stubs from your previous employer. Pay stubs, or wage slips, are valid documents that prove your income to landlords and lenders. Your pay stubs also come in handy when filing your taxes in April.
Listed below are the four key steps to acquiring your wage slips from your last employer:
#1. Identify a Point of Contact
The first thing you need to do is find out who to contact about your pay stubs. Often, employees make the mistake of reaching out to the wrong person when inquiring about their payslips.
Remember, your last employer’s HR department, payroll officer, or even your previous supervisor are among the best options that you can contact for any matter regarding your pay stubs.
Part of HR’s responsibilities involves managing employee pay and benefits. Meanwhile, payroll officers calculate employee earnings every pay period and ensure that salaries and wages are disbursed on time.
Your previous supervisor can cooperate with the human resources and payroll officers in processing and preparing copies of your original pay stub.
#2. Draft a Pay Stub Request Email
Not knowing who exactly to contact means you don’t know who to address in your pay stub request email. As a result, your email could end up in the spam folder or, worse, get lost along with all other messages in your employer’s inbox.
When composing a request email, introduce yourself first by specifying your previous position in the company and the duration of your tenure. Next, provide your reason for requesting your pay stubs.
This will give the contact person at your last workplace a heads-up as to who the email is from and what it is for.
Below are two sample email templates you can use when requesting pay stubs from your previous employer:
Request Email Template 1
The first template is simple, straightforward, and easy to fill out:
Request Email Template 2
The second template is suitable if you want to send a more detailed request email:
Dear Mr./Ms,[NAME OF CONTACT PERSON],
Dates when pay stubs were issued: [START DATE] to [END DATE]
Employee Number: [EMPLOYEE ID NUMBER]
Email Address: [EMAIL ADDRESS]
Mailing Address: [UPDATED MAILING ADDRESS]
#3. Follow Further Instructions
Upon sending your email, expect to receive a set of instructions or be asked to provide additional information. In some instances, you may be asked to fill out and sign a pay stub request form.
It is also possible that the initial contact person you reached out to will redirect you to someone else who may be better suited to assist you in acquiring copies of your pay stub.
Make sure you check your mail or email consistently to avoid missing any key instructions from your previous employer.
#4. Receive Your Pay Stubs
If you have successfully completed the additional steps and instructions, then the last step in getting pay stubs from your previous employer is to wait until you receive copies.
You should have already provided up-to-date information and your preferred method of receiving your pay stubs in your email.
Doing so saves time and also minimizes the chances of your requested documents being sent to your old mailing address or receiving pay stubs digitally when what you actually need are physical copies.
Alternative Ways of Getting Pay Stubs
In case you are unable to get your pay stubs from your previous employer, there are some alternative ways to go about this.
These methods include:
- Using a pay stub generator. Freelancers and self-employed individuals can produce their own pay stubs and financial documents as long as all the information they input is correct and valid. Pay stub generators are excellent tools if you earn money through freelancing and need to provide proof of income for a loan.
- Contact your bank. You can get pay stubs from a bank if you receive your salary in cash and routinely deposit your earnings into your bank account. Simply contact your bank and inquire whether they can help you acquire copies of your pay stubs.
- Checking your payroll service website. If you’re wondering how to get your pay stubs online, some employers send digital copies of employee pay stubs through a payroll service website. This is particularly true for employers based in states that require companies to provide electronic copies of employee wage slips. Try logging into your payroll service or employee website, or contact your employer’s human resources department to request your credentials in order to access your payroll documents.
When Can You Ask For Pay Stubs From Previous Employers?
The specific timeframe for when you can ask for pay stubs from your previous employers depends on their existing payroll policies and any governing pay stub requirements by state. It will also depend on how recently you left your last job.
Some states require employers to keep employee pay stubs for at least three years. However, if the employee resigns, then employers may keep copies of the pay slips for a maximum of 12 months.
If you recently left your job, try to ask about getting copies of your pay stubs within one to two weeks after your last day at work. The idea is to process all documents related to your recent employment that you might need while your records are still fresh in the HR department’s files.
On the other hand, attempting to get pay stubs from a past employer from two or three years ago may be trickier and more tedious. It is possible that your records may have been deleted or discarded, or the business may have even ceased operations.
Factors that May Keep You From Obtaining Your Pay Stubs
Unfortunately, there are rare but possible instances wherein you cannot receive your pay stubs, such as:
- The business closed. When a business closes or permanently ceases operations, the federal, state, and local governments typically give a maximum of three years to retain all business and employee records. Once the retention period is completed, it is highly likely that all documents and records have already been discarded.
- The business operates illegally. Getting pay stubs from a past employer with ties to questionable and unlawful dealings is a gamble. After all, illegally operating businesses avoid any legal paperwork, such as creating employee pay stubs and maintaining employee records, due to the possibility that their shady and questionable activities get exposed. They may even issue fake pay stubs, which could get you into serious trouble later on if you are not vigilant.
- Natural disasters. A business’s documents and files could get lost and destroyed amid natural disasters such as floods, fires, and earthquakes. Unless a business keeps electronic copies of all its employee’s documents and records, it is impossible to retrieve and revive the damaged files.
What to Do if Your Previous Employer Does Not Provide Your Pay Stubs
Using the different steps and alternative ways to get pay stubs from your last employer may not always end successfully.
There are external factors that may prevent the acquisition of your paycheck documents, such as the lack of a backup plan to secure and retain all company files and paperwork.
Here’s what you can do in case your previous employer does not provide your pay stubs:
First, determine the reason why your last employer is unable to provide copies of your last pay stubs. They may have a valid reason, such as losing all employee files following a calamity. Otherwise, your last employer may have sent your pay stubs to the wrong mailing address.
But if your previous employer cannot provide a valid reason for refusing to comply with your request, you can report them to the authorities and sue them in a court of law.
Note that while the Fair Labor Standards Act does not necessarily mandate all employers to produce pay stubs, they are still required to make all information related to an employee’s employment available upon request.
On the other hand, if your last job is based in a ‘Printed or Access’ state and you are wondering how to get paper pay stubs from your previous employer, you can request to have your electronic copies printed instead.
It’s important to know how to get pay stubs from your previous employer and all the options at your disposal, as you might get asked to provide proof of income to rent an apartment or qualify for a loan at any point.
Just remember to remain respectful and cordial when requesting your paycheck records to avoid any unnecessary conflict and misunderstandings.
How to Get Pay Stubs From a Previous Employer FAQ
#1. How can I get my old pay stubs online?
To get your old pay stubs online, you must contact your previous employer or the human resources personnel from your previous job. Inquire whether the company used an online employee portal to store employee pay stubs, and if so, see if it is still possible to log in to the system and retrieve old copies of your paycheck stubs.
#2. How can I get my pay stubs without contacting my previous employer?
You can get your pay stubs without contacting your previous employer by reaching out to your bank. Alternatively, you can also try reaching out to your payroll company. In this case, you might be required to provide your employee ID number or social security number for verification purposes.
#3. Do employers keep records of previous pay stubs?
Yes, employers keep records of previous pay stubs because they are required by the federal government to do so. In contrast, creating and releasing copies of pay stubs to employees is not necessarily mandatory across all states because each state has its own set of pay stub requirements.
#4. How to get pay stubs from direct deposit?
Getting your pay stubs from direct deposit entails logging into your employee portal or the third-party payroll software used by your employer.