Paycheck Stub Abbreviations and Codes

Have you ever looked at your paycheck stub and felt like you were deciphering a secret code?

Paycheck stub abbreviations can indeed be confusing, leaving many individuals bewildered. Whether you're an employee receiving a paycheck or an employer preparing one, understanding the abbreviations on your paycheck stub is crucial for financial clarity.

In this article, we will unravel the meanings behind common paycheck stub abbreviations, empowering you to easily interpret your earnings, deductions, and other important details.

Understanding Common Paycheck Stub Elements

Before we delve into the world of abbreviations, let's familiarize ourselves with the essential information found on most paycheck stubs. While the level of detail may vary, certain items are required by law to be included on every paycheck stub.


Here are the key elements you should be familiar with:

    Gross Pay - The total amount earned before any taxes or deductions are taken out.
  • Net Pay - The amount you take home after taxes and deductions have been subtracted from your gross pay.
  • Federal Tax Amount - The portion of your income that goes towards federal income tax, collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • State Tax - The tax imposed by your state government, though some states may not require residents to pay state tax.
  • Local Tax - Taxes collected by local governments, such as cities, counties, or school districts.
  • Social Security - Contributions towards Social Security, which fund retirement benefits.
  • Medicare - Contributions towards Medicare, which provide health benefits for those in need.
  • Year-to-Date (YTD) - The cumulative sum of your earnings and deductions so far in the current calendar year, offering an overview of your annual income.

Header Abbreviations

The header section of your paycheck stub contains personal and employer information. It typically includes abbreviations to save space and streamline the presentation. Here are some common abbreviations found in the header:

  • Check No. - The number assigned to your paycheck.
  • SSN - Your Social Security number.

Earnings Abbreviations

Now let's focus on the abbreviations related to your earnings—the part of your paycheck that matters most. These abbreviations represent different types of payments you receive. Here are common earnings abbreviations:

  • Add Pay - Additional pay beyond your regular salary.
  • BRVMT - Bereavement pay for time taken off due to a family member's death.
  • Cmp Pyot - Compensatory time payout for additional hours worked.
  • CNT Pay - Contract pay, which refers to your salary.
  • Hol - Holiday pay for working on designated holidays.
  • Jury - Compensation for serving on jury duty.
  • Misc - Miscellaneous pay for various reasons not covered by other categories.
  • Move Rem - Reimbursement for relocation expenses.
  • OnCall - Additional pay for being on-call or available for work.
  • PTO - Personal or paid time off.
  • Sick - Compensation for time off due to illness.
  • SignOn - Pay received as a sign-on bonus.
  • Severanc - Compensation provided when an employee's employment is terminated.
  • TuiReimb - Tuition reimbursement for educational expenses.
  • Vac - Compensation for vacation time.
  • YTD - Year-to-date earnings, displaying your accumulated income for the current year.

Decoding Paycheck Stub Abbreviations for Deductions

Deductions reduce your net pay and encompass various items such as taxes, insurance premiums, and contributions to retirement plans or health savings accounts. Let's explore the abbreviations commonly used for deduction purposes:

Tax Deductions

  • FICA — Med - Refers to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act—Medicare. It represents the portion of your pay contributed towards Medicare (1.45%).
  • FICA — SS - Represents the Social Security portion (6.2%) of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, mandatory for Social Security payments.
  • Fed/FWT/FIT/FITW - Stands for federal tax withholding.
  • St Tax/SWT/SIT/SITW - Indicates state tax withholding.
  • Local Tax - Denotes local or city tax withholdings.

Before-Tax Deductions

  • 401k/Ret - Abbreviation for 401k or retirement plan withholdings.
  • DCR - Represents dependent care reimbursement.
  • Den/Dental - Refers to dental insurance premiums.
  • INS/MED - Stands for insurance or medical insurance deductions.
  • FSA - Represents contributions to a flexible spending account.
  • HCR - Indicates health care reimbursement.
  • HSA - Represents contributions to a health savings account.
  • LTD - Denotes deductions for long-term disability insurance.
  • STD - Represents deductions for short-term disability insurance.
  • VIS/Vision - Refers to vision insurance premiums.

After-Tax Deductions

  • Bankrpty - Denotes deductions related to bankruptcy.
  • CHD SU - Indicates child support deductions.
  • Garn - Refers to flat-rate garnishment deductions.
  • Garn % - Indicates garnishment deductions based on a percentage.
  • StdnLoan - Denotes deductions for student loan payments.
  • TX Levy - Represents tax levy deductions.
  • IRS Levy - Denotes deductions imposed by the Internal Revenue Service.

Wage deductions play a crucial role in determining your net pay. Federal and state income taxes, as well as Social Security contributions, are common deductions that impact the difference between your gross and net income. By monitoring year-to-date fields, you can track your overall tax contributions, Social Security payments, and Medicare deductions for the year.

Additional Paycheck Stub Abbreviations

In addition to the abbreviations mentioned earlier, here are more paycheck stub abbreviations that you may come across:

Paycheck Stub Header Abbreviations

  • EMP ID - Employee identification number
  • YTD - Year-to-date
  • PAY PER - Pay period
  • CO - Company or employer name
  • ADDR - Address

Earnings Abbreviations

  • REG - Regular pay
  • OT - Overtime pay
  • DT - Double time pay
  • HOL - Holiday pay
  • COM - Commission
  • TIPS - Tips received
  • BONUS - Bonus payment
  • INC - Incentive pay
  • PER DIEM - Daily allowance
  • SHIFT DIFF - Shift differential pay
  • STIPEND - Fixed sum allowance
  • PIECE RATE - Pay based on the number of units produced
  • HAZ PAY - Hazard pay
  • PPT - Pay for performance

Deduction Abbreviations

  • H&W - Health and wellness deductions
  • PENSION - Pension plan contributions
  • HSA - Health savings account contributions
  • IRA - Individual retirement account contributions
  • LIFE INS - Life insurance premiums
  • AD&D - Accidental death and dismemberment insurance premiums
  • LTD - Long-term disability insurance premiums
  • UNION - Union dues
  • CHAR - Charitable contributions
  • EDU - Educational assistance deductions
  • UNIF - Uniform expenses
  • PARK - Parking expenses
  • LOAN - Loan repayments
  • VAC ACCR - Vacation accrual

Tax Abbreviations

  • FICA - Federal Insurance Contributions Act
  • FUTA - Federal Unemployment Tax Act
  • SUTA - State Unemployment Tax Act
  • SDI - State Disability Insurance
  • EIT - Earned Income Tax
  • PIT - Personal Income Tax
  • FITW - Federal Income Tax Withholding
  • SITW - State Income Tax Withholding


Mastering the art of reading paycheck stub abbreviations is an invaluable skill for understanding your earnings, deductions, and overall financial situation.

Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently navigate your paycheck stub, track your income, and make informed financial decisions.

Whether you're an employee seeking transparency in your earnings or an employer aiming to streamline payroll processes, deciphering paycheck stub abbreviations is a valuable asset.

By unraveling the meanings behind these abbreviations, you unlock a world of financial understanding and empower yourself to take control of your personal and professional finances.

Acronyms: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z