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How to check your paycheck is correct

Did you know that more than half of workers in the United States have experienced an issue with their payslip at some point in their career? That’s according to a survey of more than 1,000 US employees to examine the hidden costs of payroll errors.

So, how do you ensure your payslip is correct? And what can you do if you’ve not been paid correctly?

What your paycheck will contain

Even though everyone’s paycheck is different, chances are you’ll see the following items on there:

  • Total Gross – Your annual salary or the money you made on the hours you worked before tax and deductions.
  • Total Net – Your take home pay after all taxes and deductions.
  • Hours Worked – For salary workers, this will be your hours in a normal pay period. For hourly employees, this will show the hours you worked.
  • Total Deductions – This list could be quite exhaustive and include Social Security Tax, Medicare, Federal Tax Withholding, State Tax and Locality Tax. 

What to look out for

Rather than missing out on your hard-earned money or receiving a hefty bill come tax time, always review your paycheck and look closely at the following:

  • Were there any changes to your gross or net pay? This should be a cause for concern if you get paid a salary.
  • Were your wages recorded properly? Employees paid by the hour should double check how much they worked during that pay period.
  • Were taxes withheld? These could include both federal and state.
  • Are your contributions correct? Including 401(k) contributions or another retirement account.
  • Are other benefits correct? Such as healthcare, life insurance and disability or commuter benefits.

What to do if your paycheck is wrong

Everybody makes mistakes, and payroll departments are no exception,” says Stacey Molski, Communication & Media Specialist at payroll firm Ambrose. “So, check your paycheck every period, and if you find an error, get it fixed ASAP.”

Thankfully, the vast majority of paycheck problems are reversible. But that doesn’t mean to say your payroll department will fix errors on their own. 

What’s more, the longer you wait to report paycheck problems, the harder they are to correct. This is because it becomes increasingly difficult to fix errors towards the end of tax quarters. 

“So, if you do see an error, or even a tax or deduction you don’t understand, contact the appropriate go-to person at your company right away,” adds Molski. “Generally, your contact will be in your human resources or payroll department, but ask your manager if you’re not sure.”

It might seem somewhat unnecessary to always check your payslip, but it only takes a few minutes to make sure everything is in order. 

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