Workers are Entitled to Statements of Their Earnings
Under most state laws, workers are entitled to receive statements of their earnings. Depending on the state law, if an employer fails to provide a statement of earnings, then legal action can be taken and the employer can be held responsible. For example, in New York, violation of the state’s wage statement law can subject an employer to suit for statutory damages for up to $250 per violation for a maximum penalty of $5,000 per employee.
As an example, Colorado recently mandated certain information be provided on earnings statements. Failure to provide the required information is considered a violation of state labor laws and regulations. The new Order from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of Labor Standards Statistics requires the following information be provided:
- Worker’s name, address, occupation, and date of hire
- Employer’s name and address
- Date of birth (when employee is under the age of 18)
- Daily statement of all hours worked
- Credits claimed and of tips
- Regular rates of pay
- Gross wages earned for the pay period
- Withholdings made (like for federal and state taxes), and
- Net amount paid for the pay period
A statement must be provided with for each pay period. Under the Colorado rules, employers have the option of providing the information in varying formats. A written paystub can be provided with each paycheck, for instance. Alternatively, Colorado employers can provide employees with access to the information electronically via email if the employee has provided an email address. However, under this option, Colorado employers must provide access to an “electronic portal” free of charge (such as access to a company computer that is connected to the internet). Most states allow for alternative methods of providing earnings statements.
Some states allow employers to provide less information. In Pennsylvania, for example, only this information must be provided:
- Hours worked
- Rates paid
- Gross wages
- Deductions/withholdings and
- Net wages
Some states have very minimalistic requirements; Illinois simply requires that an employer “shall furnish each employee with an itemized statement of deductions made from his wages for each pay period.” See 820 ILCS 115/10. Finally, note that there are a few states (such as Ohio, Florida, and Alabama) that do not mandate that employers provide earnings statements.
At the federal level, earnings statements are not specifically required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The FLSA is the main federal law governing labor relations. The FLSA governs minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor standards and similar. The FLSA applies to most private employers and to state and local governments. While the FLSA does not require earnings statements, the FLSA does require that employers maintain accurate employment-related business records, which would include data on employees, wage, hours, payroll, and compensation. And, generally, employees are entitled to have access to that information. In this manner, the FLSA provides employees with a method of obtaining earnings information at their request.
Labor Law Violations
The requirement that employers provide legally-mandated earnings statements is an important legal protection for workers. As noted, violations of the requirement can lead to employer liability under the various labor laws. Just as importantly, the earnings statement requirement can protect workers by, potentially, being a derivative violation when an employer violates other labor laws. For example, if an employer fails to pay the minimum wage or fails to pay overtime wages, by definition, the wage statement is also incorrect. Thus, earnings statement laws can be an extra method of holding employers accountable for wage theft and other abuse of employees.
Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at Herrmann Law Today
If you think that your employer has not been providing the proper earning statements, or if you think your employer has engaged in forms of wage theft or other violations of your rights as an employee, call the Employee Rights attorneys at Herrmann Law. We are proven, experienced, employee-focused attorneys representing workers across the United States in all types of workplace disputes. Use our Online Contact page or call us at (817) 479-9229.