Interpretation Guidelines Manual British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulations


ESA Section 28 – Payroll records


Text of Legislation
Policy Interpretation
Related Information


This section sets out what information an employer must keep regarding current and past employees, for how long and where those records must be kept, and requires that the records be kept in English. 

Text of Legislation

28. (1) For each employee, an employer must keep records of the following information:

(a) the employee's name, date of birth, occupation, telephone number and residential address;

(b) the date employment began;

(c) the employee's wage rate, whether paid hourly, on a salary basis or on a flat rate, piece rate, commission or other incentive basis;

(d) the hours worked by the employee on each day, regardless of whether the employee is paid on an hourly or other basis;

(e) the benefits paid to the employee by the employer;

(f) the employee's gross and net wages for each pay period;

(g) each deduction made from the employee's wages and the reason for it;

(h) the dates of the statutory holidays taken by the employee and the amounts paid by the employer;

(i) the dates of the annual vacation taken by the employee, the amounts paid by the employer and the days and amounts owing;

(j) how much money the employee has taken from the employee's time bank, how much remains, the amounts paid and dates taken.

(2) Payroll records must

(a) be in English,

(b) be kept at the employer's principal place of business in British Columbia, and

(c) be retained by the employer for two years after the employment terminates.

Policy Interpretation

Subsection (1)

Employers are required to keep records as specified in this section for all employees.

Subsection (2)

This subsection requires that the records noted in s.28 (1) must be kept in English at the employer's principal place of business in B.C. for no less than two years after the employment terminates.

Employers are required to keep records of all employees’ hours of work regardless of how they are paid or what work they perform.

In the absence of payroll records kept by an employer in accordance with this section of the Act, the Branch will consider records supplied by the employee for the purpose of calculating outstanding wages.

Failure to keep payroll records

An employer who is named in a determination for failure to keep records is liable for an escalating monetary penalty pursuant to s.98 of the Act.

Employees covered by a collective agreement

Under the provisions of s.3, if a collective agreement contains any provision respecting ss.28(1) or (2), these subsections of the Act do not apply. If a collective agreement does not contain these provisions, these subsections are deemed to be incorporated in the collective agreement as part of its terms.

Under s.3(7) of the Act, where there is a collective agreement, the enforcement of matters relating to s.28 is through the grievance procedure, not through the enforcement provisions of the Act.

Related Information

Related sections of the Act or Regulation




See Employment Standards Factsheets


Keeping Records