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Generate Printable Paper Checks

Gusto's API allows you to generate two types of check PDFs based on an employer’s preference: check at the bottom stock or check at the top stock. Once generated, employers can print the generated checks and provide them to employees.


Gusto performs payroll calculations and remits taxes for all employees, regardless of their payment method. For employees who are paid via check, employers are expected to pay employees their net pay amount outside of the standard Gusto ACH process.

Printable PDFs are also included in the Gusto Embedded Run Payroll Flow, as well as in the off-cycle and payroll history Flows.

1. Create printable paper check

To create a printable paper check through the Gusto API, use the POST payroll/{payroll_uuid}/generated_documents/printable_payroll_checks endpoint. The payroll_uuid must be the uuid of a processed payroll (i.e. one that has been successfully submitted).

The endpoint accepts the following body params:

  • printing_format - either “top” or “bottom” to indicate placement of the recipient's address. Note: “bottom” includes the routing number while “top” does not.
  • starting_check_number - optionally set a starting check number. Note: only available for printing_format: “bottom”.

The response will contain the following information:

  • payroll_uuid
  • printing_format - top or bottom
  • starting_check_number - nil if printing_format: “top” or if not passed
  • request_uuid - to be used in the Step 2
  • status - pending, succeeded, or failed

2. Get printable paper check

To get the generated document, use the GET /generated_documents/printable_payroll_check/{request_uuid} endpoint using the request_uuid returned from Step 1.

The response will contain the following information:

  • request_uuid
  • report_urls - an array that is either empty when status: “pending”, or contains the URL of the printable check when status: “succeeded”
  • status - pending, succeeded, or failed

3. Monitor webhook for approval

Payroll check generation falls under our generated documents category, and is created through an async request. You can subscribe to the GeneratedDocument Entity webhook and listen for the printable_payroll_checks.generated_document.generated event to get notified when a payroll check has finished generating.

Alternatively, you can handle this using polling. Once Step 1 is successful, repeat Step 2 every few seconds to verify whether check generation is complete.