Proper wage statements (often called pay stubs) and payroll records are important elements of good business. They are also required under the Employment Standards Act (ESA). Creating and providing wage statements achieves three important functions:
- It shows that the employer is being open about what and how they pay their employees.
- It shows that the employer is complying with the ESA by creating accurate records.
- Documenting this information will help to prevent future disputes over pay.
An employer must:
- Establish a recurring pay period and a recurring pay day; and,
- Pay all wages earned in a pay period – other than accrued vacation pay – on or before the pay day for that period.
Wage statements create common understanding between employer and employee, showing that the employee has been paid for the time worked in the manner they both agreed to.
Wage Statement Requirements
The wage statement an employer gives its employee must include information about:
- The pay period for which the wages are being paid;
- The employee’s wage rate (if one exists);
- The gross amount of wages – before taxes and other deductions – and how it was calculated (unless the employee is given the information in some other way, as in an employment contract);
- The amount and purpose of each wage deduction;
- Amounts deemed to have been paid to the employee because of room and board provisions (if applicable), and
- The net amount of wages.
The wage statement must be in writing (or provided by email if the employee is able to make a paper copy at the workplace).
An employer must keep a copy of the information contained in an employee’s wage statement for three years from the time it was given.
Example of Pay Period
In this example, the pay period runs from Friday the 11th to Thursday the 17th, and the payday for this period is the following Wednesday the 23rd.
In this example, all the employee’s earnings during the pay period from the 11th to the 17th of the month must be paid on the 23rd. (Earnings from the 18th to the 24th will be paid on the 30th)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Some employees earn commissions based on sales they make. In these situations, it is common for the commission to not be paid until the goods or services have been delivered to the customer and the employer has received payment. This is allowed if the employee expressly or implicitly agrees to the arrangement.
Wage Statement Checklist
Please verify that:
- A recurring pay period and a recurring pay day has been established in your workplace.
Please note that employers are required by law to establish a recurring pay period and a recurring pay day.
- Employees receive a written wage statement (pay stub) on their regular pay day.
Please note that employers are required by law to provide employees with wage statements.
Please verify that the following are included in wage statements:
- Start and end dates of the work period for which pay is given.
- Wage rate, if applicable (e.g., $15 per hour).
- Gross amount (before deductions) paid.
- If vacation pay is being paid on that pay day, that information is itemized separately on the regular wage statement or is provided separately on its own wage statement.
- Method used to calculate gross wages (unless information is given another way).
- Each deduction made from the gross amount with explanation.
- Net amount being paid.
- While it is the employer’s responsibility to record and keep information used in creating wage statements, it may also be beneficial for employees to keep wage statements provided to them.
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