06.26.2024 By Krystel Spell

Understanding Your Pay Stub: Transitioning from LES to Civilian Pay

In the military, you were accustomed to receiving a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), which detailed your pay, allowances, deductions, and other financial information each month. As you transition to civilian life, it's important to understand how to read and interpret your civilian pay stub, which serves a similar purpose. Here’s a guide to help you navigate this important document:

Key Components of a Civilian Pay Stub

  1. Personal Information:

    • Employee Name and Address: Confirms your identity and where you live.
    • Employee ID or Social Security Number: Your unique identifier at the company.
  2. Pay Period:

    • Pay Period Start and End Dates: The specific timeframe for your earnings.
  3. Earnings:

    • Gross Pay: Your total earnings before deductions, including salary, wages, bonuses, and overtime.
    • Hourly Rate: If applicable, this shows your pay rate per hour.
    • Hours Worked: The total number of hours you worked during the pay period.
  4. Deductions:

    • Federal Income Tax: The amount withheld for federal taxes.
    • State Income Tax: The amount withheld for state taxes, if applicable.
    • Social Security Tax: Contributions to Social Security.
    • Medicare Tax: Contributions to Medicare.
    • Other Deductions: This can include health insurance premiums, retirement plan contributions, and other voluntary deductions.
  5. Net Pay:

    • Net Pay: Your take-home pay after all deductions, which is the amount deposited into your bank account.
  6. Employer Contributions:

    • Health Insurance: Contributions your employer makes toward your health insurance.
    • Retirement Plan: Contributions your employer makes to your retirement plan, such as a 401(k).
  7. Year-to-Date (YTD) Totals:

    • YTD Earnings: Total earnings from the beginning of the year to the current pay period.
    • YTD Deductions: Total deductions from the beginning of the year to the current pay period.
    • YTD Net Pay: Total take-home pay from the beginning of the year to the current pay period.

Tips for Reviewing Your Pay Stub

  • Verify Personal Information: Ensure your name, address, and Social Security number are correct.
  • Check Earnings: Confirm that your hours worked and pay rate are accurate.
  • Review Deductions: Ensure all deductions are correct and expected, including tax withholdings and any voluntary deductions.
  • Monitor Employer Contributions: Keep track of contributions your employer makes on your behalf, as these can significantly impact your benefits.
  • Understand YTD Totals: Regularly review your year-to-date totals to understand your overall earnings and deductions for the year.


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