Pay and Benefits

Pay and hours recordkeeping

You have the responsibility to maintain certain records.

You must keep certain records related to your non-exempt employees’ pay and work hours, regardless of where they perform their work. You don’t need to use a specific form for these records, but they must include certain identifying information about the employee, their hours worked, and their wages earned.


Payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, sales, and purchase records should generally be saved for at least three years. Wage calculation records, such as time cards, wage rates tables, work and time schedules, and records of increases to or deductions from wages should be saved for two years.


You can use any timekeeping method you choose, such as a time clock or allowing employees to track their own work hours, as long as the information is complete and accurate. For employees on fixed schedules, you may keep a record showing the exact schedule of daily and weekly hours and simply note that the worker followed the schedule as required. If a worker is on a job for a longer or shorter period of time than the schedule shows, however, you must note the number of hours they actually worked.

Woman using laptop in a back storage room with two colleagues behind her.

We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your responsibilities as an employer. Many questions about pay may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors:

For additional assistance, please contact:

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor: 1-866-4-US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243)

All discussions with us are free and confidential.

Need more information?

The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws.