The Differences Between a Pay Stub and a Pay Slip
September 01, 2023
One of the main distinctions between a pay stub vs. pay slip is that a pay stub is more often used for outlining compensation details for salaried workers, while the same document is more commonly called a paystub when it enumerates the income details of hourly wage workers.
It’s worth noting that these documents can often mean the exact same thing, but there are differences in the regional use of the terms, and they can also differ in the type and extent of information that’s included in each.
This article will help you nail down the potential differences between a pay stub vs. a pay slip, along with some tips on acquiring pay slips and pay stubs to secure a loan, rent an apartment, or file taxes.
- A pay stub records an employee’s gross earnings, net income, tax withholdings, and voluntary and involuntary contributions.
- A pay slip is a more common name for the same document in the UK, and it sometimes outlines additional employee income information, such as overtime pay, hourly rate, hours worked, bonuses, and other applicable adjustments that may not be mentioned in the pay stub.
- To get a copy of your pay stub or pay slip, you can request a copy from your employer, use a pay stub generator, access your records through your company’s employee portal, or contact your bank.
What is a Pay Stub?
A pay stub is a document that details an employee’s total gross and net earnings in a pay period.
Also included in a pay stub are the withheld taxes and deductions in the form of retirement contributions, health and life insurance premiums, union dues, and wage garnishments.
The two most common forms or examples of pay stubs are physical pay stubs and electronic pay stubs. Physical pay stubs are printed on paper and attached to an employee’s paycheck. Electronic pay stubs are created with the payroll software.
Typically, employers create and disseminate pay stubs to their employees. In contrast, independent contractors prepare their own pay stubs and can do this with the help of an online pay stub generator.
Pay stub requirements also vary by state. These requirements specify whether employers must issue pay stubs, enable workers to opt in or out of electronic pay stubs, or provide pay stubs in print.
What is a Pay Slip?
A pay slip, or salary pay slip, is a financial document identical to a pay stub, and it may contain additional information about an employee’s compensation. In the UK, the term ‘payslip’ is more commonly used than a pay stub.
However, some countries and companies have different uses for a pay stub and a pay slip, hence the need to clearly differentiate the two.
A pay stub contains the net and gross earnings, taxes, and deductions, while a pay slip often outlines the hours worked in a pay period, the pay rate, and additional payments like bonuses and overtime pay.
A pay slip is, therefore, often associated with hourly employees, and the fact that it contains less and simpler information than a pay stub adds to that as well.
Since hourly employees and contractors receive their compensation daily or weekly, they accumulate fewer work hours, which makes calculating their wages simpler.
Pay Stub vs. Pay Slip
The differences between a pay slip and a pay stub are easy to miss because of the overlap between the two documents.
The table below should help you identify these distinctions more easily:
A paystub is often used for salaried or W-2 employees. Companies with a larger workforce tend to use pay stubs more because they accommodate more detailed information about employees’ earnings.
Hourly employees, or wage earners, receive payslips more commonly than salaried workers.
Pay stubs are either printed on paper or generated electronically with the help of payroll software.
Most pay slips are paper-based.
Pay stubs contain an employee’s gross and net earnings, retirement and health insurance contributions, employer contributions, YTD payroll, and withheld taxes.
Pay slips contain the work hours completed in a pay period, the hourly rate, bonuses, and overtime compensation.
What Information Goes on a Pay Stub?
The information that goes on a pay stub is as follows:
- Gross income. Gross earnings are the total income an employee earns in a pay period. It represents the amount earned before taxes and other deductions.
- Net income. This is the remaining amount of employee earnings after subtracting taxes and applicable deductions from the gross income.
- YTD (Year-to-date). It summarizes an employee’s total gross and net income and deductions from the beginning of the year.
- Federal, state, and local taxes. Taxes and deductions are the defining details that separate a pay stub from a pay slip. Not all pay stubs reflect state and local taxes because some states and localities do not levy income taxes on individuals or businesses.
- FICA. It comprises Social Security and Medicare taxes. Employers and employees share the percentage needed to pay FICA taxes.
- Retirement contributions. 401(k), Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), and SIMPLE IRA are examples of retirement contributions typically offered by employers to their staff.
- Health and life insurance contributions. They entail medical, dental, and vision coverage. Group-term life insurance is a common type of life insurance plan employers offer.
- Wage garnishments. Wage garnishments are court-mandated payments employers withdraw from their employee’s regular salaries. Examples of wage garnishments include child support, alimony, penalty fees, and student loans.
- Union dues. Employers must withhold a percentage of their employee’s salary to cover union dues. The contributions for union dues are then forwarded to the union, where the employee is a member.
What Are Pay Stubs Used For?
Aside from providing employees with accurate information about the money they earn, pay stubs also serve as proof of income and compliance with tax regulations.
Let’s explore the different uses of pay stubs one by one:
A pay stub is integral to helping employers and employees fulfill their tax obligations. It proves employers withhold percentages from employee earnings to help them pay their taxes on time.
Taxpayers can file their taxes using their latest pay stub. The key is to check that their pay stubs reflect accurate and transparent information on their tax withholding. The withheld tax amounts and gross earnings indicated in the pay stub are instrumental in calculating the annual tax liability of an individual.
Rent an Apartment
Landlords request copies of a tenant’s or applicant’s pay stubs to verify their financial ability to pay their rent. Pay stubs are valid documents that reflect an individual’s source of income and attest that they use lawful means to generate their income.
Secure a Loan
When comparing the significance of a pay stub vs. a pay slip in acquiring any form of financial assistance, pay stubs are at the top of the list of every lender.
Lenders use pay stubs in evaluating a borrower’s loan application, whether for a car loan, mortgage, or personal loan. Lenders often focus on the gross income declared on a borrower’s pay stub.
The gross income amount is compared to the annual income provided by the debtor in their application form. If the gross and annual income match, it affirms the borrower’s financial capacity to repay the loan.
Otherwise, any discrepancies between the income information provided by the borrower and the details enumerated in their pay stub enable lenders to identify a potential scammer.
How to Get a Pay Stub
The easiest way to get a pay stub is to request it directly from the employer. Employers may issue a physical copy or email an electronic copy of their employee’s pay stub.
However, if requesting a copy of your pay stub directly from your employer is not possible, consider the following alternatives:
Use a Paystub Generator
Independent contractors can maximize the use of a pay stub generator to create their pay stubs. W-2 employees can also use a pay stub generator, provided they remember their hourly rates and the amount withheld by their employers to pay their contributions and taxes.
Pay stub generators use templates that speed up the time it takes to create pay stubs while reducing errors and lapses in inputting all key salary information.
Access Your Company’s Employee Portal
If your employer uses an employee portal and you are still employed, you can log in and access your records. Companies use payroll software to easily secure employee records, including their pay stubs.
Contact Your Bank
Acquiring a copy of your pay stub through the bank applies if you deposit your earnings into your bank account on a regular basis.
Banks follow a standard set of procedures when addressing requests for a copy of an account holder’s pay stubs. The procedure involves verifying your bank account and checking whether money has been consistently deposited using your account information.
What Information Goes on a Pay Slip?
We’ve already covered that between a pay stub vs. a pay slip, the latter contains simpler and more brief income information.
- Hourly rate. The hourly rate is the amount paid to an employee or worker per hour. It should match the hourly rates indicated in the worker’s employment contract.
- Completed work hours. Employers count all the completed work hours within a pay period and multiply the value by their employees’ hourly rate. The resulting value is the employee’s gross earnings.
- Bonuses and salary adjustments. One-time bonuses and salary adjustments, such as paid time-off, are declared on a separate pay slip to make it easier for employees to confirm that their salary adjustments and bonuses are reflected in their pay.
- Overtime pay. Overtime pay is the extra hours employees provide past their regular working hours. Overtime is any additional work hour completed by an employee beyond their regular work hours in a day or week.
How to Get a Pay Slip
There is not much difference between acquiring a copy of a pay stub vs. a pay slip. You can obtain a copy of your pay slip using the methods described above.
However, make sure to keep in mind the following pointers:
- Explain your purpose. Let your employer know the reason why you need copies of your pay slip. Specify the number of copies you need and a time frame (for example, the last five to six months) for the pay slips you need.
- Prepare other supporting documents. This applies if you request copies of your previous employer's pay slip. Examples of supporting documents you might need include your loan application form or lease documents.
To answer the question of whether pay stubs and pay slips are the same, the short answer is yes, but in certain instances, they can differ to a certain extent.
Pay stubs and pay slips are both used to convey information about an employee’s earnings and the changes imposed on their gross income.
Understanding the minute details that differentiate a pay stub vs. pay slip may not seem to have that much of an impact, but it might help improve your payroll process.