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For Ohio Workers, Paystubs are Optional

An estimated 20 million Americans do not receive pay statements from their employers. (Adobe Stock)
An estimated 20 million Americans do not receive pay statements from their employers. (Adobe Stock)
February 14, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With Valentine's Day landing on a Friday, some people might be more interested in getting their paycheck than receiving flowers or chocolate. Roughly half of all employees in the United States are paid on Fridays, but some don't get a paystub to go along with their pay.

Ohio is one of nine states that doesn't require employers to provide a pay statement to employees, which Michael Shields, a researcher for Policy Matters Ohio, said creates a lack of transparency.

"If workers aren't getting a paystub, it makes it really easy for, one, mistakes to happen in pay," he said, "and two, we know that there are a number of employers in Ohio who are actually committing wage theft. That's a lot easier to do if an employer is not providing a record."

Research from Policy Matters Ohio found that employers in the state steal an average of $2,800 from each of 217,000 workers a year through minimum-wage violations alone. Shields noted that it could be much higher, since most cases go unreported. In Ohio, a Senate committee is considering House Bill 137. Passed by the House, the legislation would require Ohio businesses to provide pay statements. Pay statements help workers determine if they're being paid hourly, or on a salaried basis, and to double-check any deductions from their pay.

Shields said unscrupulous employers could misclassify workers to avoid paying overtime or taxes.

"A worker may think they're being paid what was agreed on, and they don't realize that the employer hasn't withheld payroll taxes," he said, "and then, if you're classified as a contractor, not an employee, you actually owe the employer's portion of those taxes as well. So, workers can get a substantial and costly surprise."

Shields said other aspects of an employee's life also can be affected by not having a paystub.

"It creates challenges for applying for credit, qualifying for a rental lease for an apartment," he said. "People need a paystub to verify their income eligibility for things like food assistance, if they're low-income."

He added that research suggests that about 20 million workers in the United States do not receive paystubs, despite most states requiring employers to provide them.

The report is online at policymattersohio.org.

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This story was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH