Do You Check Your Pay Stubs?
July 13, 2023
Once you have had a job for a while, receiving your pay stub becomes routine and many of us start to ignore it.
If your payroll is done through direct deposit, sometimes employees don’t bother to open the envelope, and electronic pay stubs are even easier to overlook. But this is a bad habit to get into.
Mistakes are part of life, but your paycheque is not an area where you want mistakes to happen. It is important to check your pay stub on a regular basis to verify:
- Your scheduled and worked hours match what is reported on your stub;
- You are being paid the correct rate of pay;
- Your hours are being tracked correctly for progression purposes, benefit entitlements etc., and;
- Your classification is listed correctly to ensure proper rate of pay.
In Ontario, the law states that on or before your pay day, the employer must provide you with a wage statement (pay stub) that must include:
- The pay period for which the wages are being paid, for example June 1 – June 8;
- Your rate of pay, for example, your hourly rate if you have one;
- The gross amount of wages and how the gross wages were calculated;
- The amount and purpose of each deduction;
- Any amounts that were paid in respect of room or board;
- The net amount of wages.
The wage statement that your employer provides you must either be in writing or can be provided by e-mail if you have access to make a paper copy.
There must also be a way to keep this information separate from your pay cheque (it must be separate or detachable from your pay cheque).
There are three types of deductions that your employer can legally deduct from your pay cheque:
- Statutory deductions (Employment Insurance, Canada Pension & Income Tax),
- Court orders (such as child support payments)
- When an employee has signed a written statement authorizing the deduction.
However, even if you sign a written authorization, it is illegal for the employer to deduct from your pay for what they say is poor work performance.
For example, the employer cannot deduct from your pay if:
- You broke tools or equipment,
- There was something wrong with a product you made or,
- A mistake that you made cost the employer money somehow.
In addition, your employer cannot deduct from your pay if there is a cash shortage or missing property unless you were the only person with access to the cash or property and you have given written authorization for your employer to do so.
Reading your pay stub: Common Pay Stub Terms
- Gross Income: The total amount of pay before any deductions are taken off.
- Net pay: The amount of pay remaining after deductions are taken off.
- Year to date (YTD): The total amount of pay and deductions from the beginning of the year through to the current pay period.
- Employment insurance (EI): A percentage of gross income paid by employees and employers to provide temporary payments if workers become unemployed.
- Canada Pension Plan (CPP): A percentage of gross income paid by employees and employers to provide income when workers retire or become disabled, or for survivor benefits.
- Income Tax: a certain percentage of your income that you have to pay regularly to the government.
Paystubs often contain confusing abbreviations and acronyms. The Government of Canada website has an extensive list of descriptions for earnings and deductions abbreviations and acronyms. You can see that list here.
You work extremely hard for your money and should check carefully that you are being paid accurately. Any discrepancies you find should be reported immediately so payroll can investigate it. If you are not satisfied, ask your steward for further assistance or call your Union Rep.
Learn more about the Role of a Union Steward [link].
Through regular monitoring, you can help reduce future mistakes and ensure proper pay deposits.