What Your Pay Stub Abbreviations Mean

, Staff Writer
Updated January 22, 2021
Pay Stub and Cash
    Pay Stub and Cash
    Kameleon007 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

You get your pay stub and what you expected to get is just not matching up. What do all these pay stub abbreviations mean? To get rid of confusion, break down what each abbreviation and acronym stands for. Not only will you find out what “SSN” is, but you can also decode your earning and deduction abbreviations on your pay stub.

Decoding Pay Stub Abbreviations

You are going to see several abbreviations on your paycheck. This is just a way to save time and space on your pay stub. But, when you are trying to decipher it all, it can look pretty intimidating.

On your pay stub, you’ll see some common payroll abbreviations and some that aren’t so common. For simplicity, you can break them down by pay stub abbreviations found in the header, earnings and deductions sections.


Paycheck Abbreviations in the Header

In the header of your pay stub, you’re going to see your name, pay period, check date, and other identifying information. Those are all pretty easy to figure out. There are a few abbreviations that you might not know. These will include:

  • Check No. - Check number
  • SSN - Social security number
  • EIN - Employee identification number (similar to your social security number)

Pay Stub Earning Abbreviations

Earning abbreviations show where your money is coming from. This includes not just regular pay, but possibly also vacation pay or even administrative leave. Every kind of pay will have an abbreviation on your pay stub. It is important to note that different financial institutions might have slightly different abbreviations; however, some form of these common codes are typical in the earnings section.

  • Add Pay - Additional pay
  • BRVMT - Bereavement pay
  • Cmp Pyot - Compensatory time payout
  • CNT Pay - Contract pay - salary
  • FMLA - Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Gross - Earnings before taxes and deductions
  • Hol - Holiday pay
  • Jury - Jury duty pay
  • Misc - Miscellaneous pay (pay they don’t have a code for)
  • Move Rem - Move reimbursement
  • Net - Earnings after taxes and deductions
  • OT@1.5 - Overtime pay (at 1.5 times your regular pay rate)
  • OnCall - On-call pay
  • PTO - Personal time off or paid time off
  • Reg Pay - Regular pay - hourly
  • Sick - Sick pay
  • SignOn - Sign-on bonus pay
  • Severanc - Severance pay
  • TuiReimb - Tuition reimbursement
  • Vac - Vacation pay
  • YTD - Year-to-date earnings

Tax Deduction Abbreviations

There can be a lot of withholdings on your pay stub too. Your tax deductions are typically the first deductions that you will encounter. These are going to cover your state and federal taxes along with any other additional taxes.

  • FICA - Med - FICA stands for the “Federal Insurance Contributions Act” and Med stands for “Medicare.” This is the Medicare contribution that you pay at 1.45%.
  • FICA - SS - This stands for “Federal Insurance Contributions Act - Social Security.” It is the mandatory social security that you’ll pay. It varies by year.
  • Fed/FWT/FIT/FITW - These are abbreviations used for “federal tax withholding.”
  • St Tax/SWT/SIT/SITW - These abbreviations are used for the “state tax withholding.”
  • Local Tax - Here is where you’ll find local or city tax withholdings.

Common Before-Tax Deduction Abbreviations

Some deductions can happen before the government gets its cut. These include health coverage, dependent care, and life insurance. Take a look at some of the different codes that you might encounter for these deductions.

  • 401k/Ret - 401k or retirement withholdings
  • DCR - Dependent care reimbursement
  • Den/Dental - Dental premium
  • INS/MED - Insurance or medical insurance deductions
  • FSA - Flexible spending account
  • HCR - Health care reimbursement
  • HSA - Health saving account
  • LTD - Long-term disability withholding
  • STD - Short-term disability withholding
  • VIS/Vision - Vision premium

Common After-Tax Deduction Abbreviations

While some deductions can come out before taxes are paid, like insurance, other deductions come out after taxes. These deductions are typically penalties that you have incurred from garnishment or bankruptcy. Common after-tax deductions that you might see abbreviated on your pay stub are found here.

  • Bankrpty - Bankruptcy
  • CHD SU - Child support
  • Garn - Garnishment flat rate
  • Garn % - Garnishment percentage
  • StdnLoan - Student loan
  • TX Levy - Tax levy
  • IRS Levy - Internal Revenue Service levy

Dissecting Your Pay Stub

There can be a lot to decode on your pay stub, especially when you are trying to figure out where all your money went. Understanding these abbreviations will give you a better idea of why your income went from $1,000 to $600 in a flash. Now that you know some common pay stub abbreviations, you might want to learn more about the parts of a check. It's still an important skill in the digital world. If you're still interested in abbreviations, check out the difference between an abbreviation and an acronym. You might not realize it, but acronyms are everywhere!