The Best Free Pay Stub Template for Your Small Business

Whether you pay your team via direct deposit or physical check, a pay stub is typically included with paychecks to give employees a detailed breakdown of their earnings. But what should this pay stub look like? What information should it include?

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, our free pay stub templates will tell you all you need to know. Plus, we cover the state laws that govern pay stubs, the benefits of providing them to your employees, and even the benefits pay stubs offer your business.

And did we mention—we’re even sharing three pay stub templates so you can craft the perfect payment documents for your small business. Take them, get inspired, or customize them for your own purposes.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

What is a pay stub?

A pay stub, also called a pay slip, is a document with all the details about your employees’ payments in one convenient place. Employers issue pay stubs based on their payroll schedule. So, if you pay your team every week, they get a weekly pay stub. But if you pay your team once a month, they would get their pay stubs monthly. 

Pay stubs are important documents for employees and employers alike. They let employees know how much they were paid and what was deducted from their checks—like taxes, retirement, and other benefits—while also helping employers stay compliant with payroll laws.

Basically, everyone benefits from the information on a pay stub. It’s not just good communication—it’s good record-keeping!

While it’s important that pay slips reflect accurate information, they are considered non-binding documents. This means that they are not considered contracts. Instead, think of them like a report or an accounting of your team’s pay.

What should you include on a pay stub?

The information you need to include on a pay stub depends on the specific employment laws in your state and industry. It’s important to look into the laws in your state to ensure you’re meeting the required standards. 

Here are some of the most common items that you should include on every pay stub:

  • Employer information: Company name, address, logo, etc.
  • Employee information: Name, address, ID number, and Social Security number.
  • Reporting period
  • Pay date
  • Hours worked during the pay period
  • Employee’s hourly rate or salary share
  • Bonuses (if applicable)
  • Total gross earnings
  • Deductions: Federal tax, State tax, Social Security tax, 401k, etc.
  • Total net pay
  • Year-to-date total calculations: gross earnings, net earnings, and deductions.

What’s the difference between a pay stub and a paycheck? 

Although you may deliver a pay stub and paycheck together, there is a difference. A paycheck is an employee’s actual pay to deposit into a bank account. Paychecks typically only list an employee’s net income, while the pay stub has additional information like total net and gross pay, deductions, and hours worked. 

Some businesses deposit directly into employees’ bank accounts, eliminating the need for a physical paycheck. Even so, these businesses should issue pay stubs to their team members, either digitally or on paper, so they can see the breakdown of their pay.

Businesses that still issue paychecks physically should issue physical paystubs along with them. This way, there’s never any question of how your employee’s pay was calculated.

Are employers required to give employees pay stubs?

There are no federal laws that say you need to give your employees a pay stub. However, there are state laws that govern whether or not you need to provide access to pay stubs. 

When it comes to pay stub requirements, there are three categories states can fall into:

  • States with no requirements
  • Access states
  • Access/print states

A state with no requirements is just that—there are no requirements to give your employees a pay stub of any kind. 

Access states require you to provide your employees with a pay stub, which can be electronic or on paper. 

Access/print states allow you to give your employees an electronic or paper copy, but those who receive electronic copies must have an easy way to print or access them. 

There’s one more layer to the legislation that covers pay stubs at the state level. You need to determine if you’re in an “opt-in” or “opt-out” state. 

  • Opt-in states require businesses to get employees’ permission before changing how they deliver pay stubs. If an employee chooses not to opt in, the employer must stick to the previous delivery method.
  • Opt-out states require businesses to offer paper stubs unless an employee chooses to get an electronic pay stub.

Note that both opt-in and opt-out states are also access states that require a pay stub.

No requirement states

The following states don’t need to provide employees with a pay stub of any kind:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee

Access states

The following states require employers to provide employees with access to an electronic or paper pay stub.

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York*
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

*As of January 1st, 2021, employees in New York can opt for an electronic confirmation instead of a paper pay stub.

Access/print states

The following states require employers to provide a written or printed pay stub or an electronic pay stub if they ensure their employees can print the electronic statements.

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Opt-out states

The following states require employers to gain consent from employees to change the method of delivering pay stubs.

  • Delaware
  • Minnesota
  • Oregon

Opt-in states

Hawaii is the only state that requires employee consent before moving to an electronic paperless system. 

The benefits of providing employees with pay stubs.

A central reason for providing employees with a pay stub is to stay legally compliant with state laws. As we can see above, 41 states have legal requirements for providing employees with some form of pay stub.

But staying compliant is only one reason—albeit a super important one—to issue pay stubs. Even if you’re in one of the nine states that aren’t required to give employees pay stubs, there are other benefits for employers and employees that are worth consideration as you think about your payroll practices.

1. Improve financial literacy.

One of the amazing benefits you can provide to your team is helping them increase their financial literacy. When employees can see where the deductions come from, they can understand how payroll taxes and deductions affect their net pay. 

Knowing where their money is going can help them form better financial habits. It can also raise important personal spending and saving questions, like whether they’re putting enough away for retirement or better off opening an IRA.

Pay stubs also help employees track their finances over time so they can prepare for future expenses. For example, if a team member knows they need to take their car to the mechanic in the next six months, their pay stub can help them determine how much money they need to set aside each paycheck to make the payment.

2. Streamline the payroll process. 

By providing electronic pay stubs, you can streamline your payroll process by seamlessly delivering paycheck and payroll in one fell swoop. The best payroll service providers will automatically generate and send pay stubs to your employees. No additional work is needed—it’s just an easy addition to the process.

Also, sending electronic pay stubs rather than paper slips greatly increases the security of your pay information. Keeping your employees’ personal information confidential on a secure server means no one’s snooping through the manager’s office to find information.

3. Increase your business’s transparency.

If you want to create a positive company culture, providing pay stubs is a great step toward increasing transparency in your organization. When you give employees pay stubs with a clear breakdown of what’s been withheld from their paychecks, you can help ensure employees understand exactly where their money is going. This transparency can help build trust between you and your employees. 

For example, if your employee sees a deduction they don’t understand, they’ll be comfortable bringing it to your attention. They’ll have a document to point to, and so will you, potentially saving you from time-consuming labor trying to get to the bottom of things. 

4. Less paperwork.

It seems counterintuitive—how can providing more paperwork to employees reduce paperwork overall? But it’s true! Because pay stubs can be automatically generated, you can eliminate the need to create them every time you run your payroll process manually. Also, if you opt for electronic pay stubs, there will be fewer copies of paper slips to store and organize.

Create your own pay stub with our free pay stub template.

Offering your team pay stubs makes your life easier in all kinds of ways, but we know another way to make it even easier! To use our pay stub template, all you need to do is plug in your company and employee information and start adding your payment figures, and you’re ready to go.  

Using a template with built-in formulas makes it easier to calculate wages, taxes, bonuses, and everything else that goes into your employees’ earnings. It also helps to reduce the risk of inputting an error, making life easier when tax season rolls around.

Templates can also save you time and boost your productivity. Free your mind to focus on other parts of your business, like marketing strategies or bringing in new customers, instead of the repetitious work of pay stubs.

Finally, a pay stub template gives you consistency. You can make sure that each pay cycle, your employees will get a pay stub they recognize and understand. This not only helps your employees—it also shows that your business is professional and organized.

Free pay stub template for Excel.

You don’t need to create every pay stub from scratch. With a pay stub template, you can easily create and edit pay stubs to save time and money. This free Microsoft Excel pay stub template not only makes the payroll process a breeze, but it keeps you compliant with state regulations.

Pay stub template (Excel)

Free pay stub template for PowerPoint.

Download our free PowerPoint pay stub template and get your team started with next-level organization.

Pay stub template (PowerPoint)

Free pay stub template for Google Slides.

If your business works a lot in GSuite, this Google Slides pay stub template might be right for you. It’s ready-made: just click here to view the template, make a copy, customize it, and enter your relevant information to get started.

Free fillable PDF pay stub template.

This free fillable pay stub template is in PDF format. Download this template and customize it with your company and employee information to create pay stubs for your team members.

Pay stub template (PDF)

Streamline your payroll process with Homebase.

Running payroll can take a lot of time and energy for business owners—but it doesn’t have to.

Homebase makes payroll painless by automatically tracking hours, breaks, overtime, and PTO. With just a few clicks, your employees’ timesheets are turned into paychecks. You can even take it a step further with autopayroll—including pay stub generation. Let us set it so you can forget it!

We even make sure you’re staying compliant with state and federal payroll laws so you don’t have to worry about costly mistakes down the road. Let us handle the important, boring stuff like tax calculations, sending direct deposits, and filing your payroll taxes for you. We’ll even automatically submit your new hire reporting and file and distribute W-2s and 1099s each year.

With Homebase, payroll has never been easier. Try Homebase today. 

Free pay stub template FAQs.

Can I make my own pay stub?

You can make pay stubs for your employees using a pay stub template, Excel, or a third-party payroll processing service. Even a pay stub generated via Word, Google Docs, or PDF is an acceptable way to create pay stubs for your employees.

Where can I create a pay stub for free?

You can create a pay stub for free in various places. If you use a third-party payroll processing service, you can generate pay stubs using that program. Alternatively, you can use a pay stub template to create free pay stubs for your employees. Templates are available for everything from Word, Google Docs, Excel, PDF, and more.

What is the difference between a pay stub and a payslip?

A payslip is another term for a pay stub. Just like pay stubs, payslips provide a breakdown of total earning, hourly rate, number of hours worked, gross wages, deductions, overtime, and bonuses during the pay period.

What is the app that makes pay stubs?

There are a variety of apps that make pay stubs. With Homebase, you can process payroll for your entire business and generate pay stubs for your employees.

What important information is available on a pay stub?

There are three main sections of information available on a pay stub: how much an employee is being paid, the taxes the employee is paying, and any other deductions like taxes, Social Security, and more. You can also find your gross, year-to-date, and net earnings.

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