Philadelphia Employment Law News

What Payroll Records Do Employers Need to Keep?

Employers are required to maintain certain payroll records under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to fines and even jail time.

That may sound ominous, but keep in mind that most employers may be complying with these requirements even unintentionally. Generally, the Department of Labor only mandates that these records be accurate.

The basic record-keeping requirements include maintaining personal information about an employee such as her full name, address, ZIP code, birthdate, sex, and exact occupation.

In addition, employers must record the wages earned and hours worked for each employee. This can include:

  • The beginning of the workweek: The time and day when the employee's workweek begins, such as Monday at 9 a.m.

  • Hours worked: Employers should record how many hours an employee worked each day as well as how many hours an employee worked in the workweek. The dates and pay period covered should also be specified.

  • Wage rate. The method and rate at which employees are paid should be listed. This can include an hourly rate, piecework rate, or any other payment method.

  • Earnings. The total straight-time and overtime earnings for each workweek should be listed.

Under the FLSA, these record-keeping requirements only apply to non-exempt employees. If you are not sure what your record-keeping requirements are or which employees you have to keep records for, you may want to talk to an employment attorney. An employment attorney can also help explain to you any additional record-keeping requirements under the laws of your state.

Finally, employers should be aware that besides making these wage and hour records, they are also required to keep these records for at least three years. It may also be helpful to retain supporting documentation such as timecards and other records from which you base your payroll records.

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