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Because IRS rules are based on when wages are paid (not earned), any wages paid in January, regardless of the pay period, will be included in the new year's wages for tax deposit and reporting purposes (including annual W-2 Forms).
If the pay was made in Jan then the earnings will be reported on the W2 for 2016 not a W2 for 2015.
The pay period begin and end dates represent the period in which employees worked or earned wages.
The paycheck date is used to determine when payroll liabilities are due, based on deposit schedules.
Explain it this way to them and perhaps they will understand the bookkeeping rules then.
Please advise if you need more information
Does the employee understand the payroll requirement reporting now?