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Know Your Paycheck

Know Your Paycheck

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Many of you have received (or will soon) your first paycheck of the school year. Now is the perfect time to review your deductions and make sure everything is correct. Your pay stub is made up of a number of different elements.

  1. Earnings:  There should be a box or line that details your rate of pay.  This could be broken down based on a salary amount or an hourly amount.  It should include the current pay period amount and the year to date amount.
  2. Per-Tax Deductions:  Before taxes are calculated and taken out of your check, there are items that reduce your taxable income.  These items typically are typically elected amounts and will vary by employer.  Some examples are PSRS contributions, Other Retirement Plan contributions, cafeteria plan items (daycare or medical expenses) and medical premiums.
  3. Taxes:  This is what deducted from your wages each pay period.  It will include federal and state tax withholdings based on your W-4, Medicare taxes and Local or City taxes.  If you are participating in PSRS you will not have social security taxes taken out of your wages.
  4. Employer Paid Benefits:  These are items that don’t cost you money but are paid by your employer on your behalf.  These items include:  Employer portions of Medicare, Medical, Dental, Life Insurance and PSRS.  It may also show a Workers Compensation paid by the employers.
  5. After Tax Deductions:  Here you will find items that are taken from your check after taxes are calculated.  Some examples are:  MSTA dues, Aflac, United Way, etc.
  6. Leave Time:  You should find a section on your pay stub that will include your accumulated paid time off at the beginning of pay period, reductions during pay period and new totals.
  7. Bank Information:  Your paystub should also include a section that tells how much money when to which accounts.  For example, you may have money allocated to checking, savings, and an HSA account.  Each deposit should be included in this section to reconcile with your bank statement.

Finally, there should be a summary that gives you your net pay. The calculation is as follows:  Gross Wages minus Pre-Tax Deductions = Taxable wages minus Taxes and After Tax Deductions = Net Pay. Net Pay is also often referred to as Take Home Pay.

If everything looks right, make sure you keep an eye on the numbers and check regularly. If anything is off or you have any questions, contact the person in your district who handles payroll, usually the bookkeeper or someone in Human Resources.

You can download a handout with more details: Know Your Paycheck.

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