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A payroll is a company record of employee wages, salaries, deductions and actual pay. The record is kept following the law for pay rates such as minimum wage, overtime and holiday rate.

An employee's pay might be weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly, and may be made by paycheck or by automatic deposit (the latter is by far the most common except in very small businesses). The employee gets a record of the pay, telling gross earnings (salary/hourly wages, overtime, and/or bonuses), deductions (which include mandatory deductions for income tax, social security and Medicare) and voluntary deductions (such as for insurance, contributions to a retirement account, and/or for charitable deductions such as for United Way or the Combined Federal Campaign for federal employees), and net earnings.