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Paycheck Stub Abbreviations: Is Pay Stub One Word or Two Words?


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Whether you’re new to the workforce or well-established in your career, paycheck stub abbreviations can be confusing. Your pay stub may feature several different deductions, including insurance, taxes, and benefits, all compressed into a small space.

Understanding paycheck stub abbreviations can help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your job. Learn more by reading on!

Paystub or Pay Stub? First Things First

What is the right spelling for the piece of paper that shows your pay and benefits from your employer? Should it be spelled as all one word, or as two? 

The good news is that both “paystub” and “pay stub” are correct, according to several dictionaries. The original form was most likely two words, but over time people turned the phrase into a compound word.

Paystub spelling can be a tricky thing, with different accountant abbreviations showing up, and some industry-specific terms making it even harder to know what’s on your payslip. Fortunately, the code is easy to crack.

The Most Common Paycheck Stub Abbreviations

When you look at your paystub, there are probably several different categories that show up. Compensation, withholding, benefits, and so on. Within those categories, you might see several different abbreviations, depending on the benefits your job offers and what you’ve chosen to opt into.

If you have benefits you’ve personally chosen outside of work, and elected to deduct from your paycheck, there may be even more abbreviations to represent those. 

To clear things up a bit, the most common pay stub abbreviations are as follows:

  • Gross Pay: The amount you’re paid before deductions
  • Net Pay: The amount you’re paid after deductions
  • YTD: Year-to-date
  • QTD: Quarter-to-date
  • FICA: Federal Insurance Contributions Act (mandatory contributions to Social Security and Medicare)
  • Fed/FWT/FIT/FITW: Federal Income Tax Withholding
  • St Tax/SWT/SIT/SITW: State Income Tax Withholding 

These are just the basics, of course. If you have full benefits, you might see some other abbreviations in your deductions column.

More Advanced Paystub Abbreviations

Depending on your benefits, you may see some of these abbreviations on your check stub as well.

  • FSA: Flexible Savings Account
  • DCR: Dependent Care Reimbursement
  • Den: Dental insurance premium
  • INS/MED: Medical insurance premium
  • 401(k)/RET: Retirement account or 401(k) payment
  • HSA: Health Savings Account
  • LTD: Long-term disability
  • STD: Short-term disability
  • PTO: Paid Time Off
  • SICK: Sick leave pay/Medical leave pay
  • TuiReimb: Tuition Reimbursement payments

There are other deductions that can occur as well, whether due to garnishments or things like child or spousal support. If you declare bankruptcy, you may also see the abbreviation “Bankruptcy” among your deductions. 

If you don’t recognize a deduction on your check, you should contact your HR representative or Payroll specialist.

Understand Your Paycheck Stub

Knowing the paycheck stub abbreviations you see on your payslip can help you keep track of your finances. It is also a good way to track your employee benefits and make decisions on whether to increase your benefit withholding.

Whether you call it a pay stub, paystub, or check stub, it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking at and how to understand your deductions. 

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