Payroll records contain information about the compensation paid to employees and any deductions from their pay. These records are needed by the payroll staff to calculate gross and net pay for employees. Payroll records typically include information about the following items:
- Bereavement pay
- Deductions for pensions, benefits, charitable contributions, stock purchase plans, and so forth
- Direct deposit information
- Gross wages
- Hours worked
- Manual check payments
- Net wages paid
- Salary rates
- Vacation and/or sick pay
The information in payroll records have traditionally been stored on paper documents, but can also be recorded as electronic documents.
Payroll records can be considered a subset of the information stored in human resources records, which can contain considerably more information than items pertaining to just employee pay and deductions.
The time period over which payroll records must be retained will depend upon government requirements. The Internal Revenue Service typically states a required retention period in each document it issues dealing with payroll issues. In general, wage calculations should be retained for two years, while collective bargaining agreements should be retained for three years.