Don’t Hold a Final Paycheck Hostage

Q: Is it legal to hold an employee’s final paycheck until uniforms, computers, tools, or other company property is returned?

 

A: I get this question quite often and the short answer is: NO! An employer may not withhold an employee’s final paycheck for any reason! If an employee is separated from employment, he/she must be paid all wages owed according to your State’s statutes governing final paychecks. See the list below for your State.

 

Q: But what if an employee has not returned equipment, tools, uniforms, or other company property?

 

A: You may only withhold money from a final paycheck if the deduction is expressly authorized in writing by the employee, but keep in mind that after the deductions, an employee’s gross earnings may NOT fall below the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

 

 

 

Alabama

No statute

Alaska

Within three days. (Alaska Stat. §23.05.140)

Arizona

If employee is fired: within three days or next scheduled payday, whichever is sooner. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §23-353)

Arkansas

Railroad employees only: If employee is fired: immediately. All other employees: if employee is fired: within seven days after demand; if employee quits: no applicable law. (Arkansas Code §11-4-405; Howard v. Glenn Bros. Trucking, 609 S.W.2d 897 (Ark. 1980))

California

If employee is fired: immediately. If employee quits and does not have a contract for a definite period of employment: within 72 hours, or immediately if the employee has given 72 hours of notice. If seasonal agricultural industry employee is fired: within 72 hours. If motion picture industry employee is laid off: next pay day; if fired, within 24 hours. If oil drilling industry employee is laid off: within 24 hours.

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck. (Cal. Lab. Code §§201, 202 and 227.3)

Colorado

Employer ends the employment relationship

1. If the accounting unit is scheduled to be operational, pay is due immediately.

2. If the accounting unit is not scheduled to be operational, pay is due not later than 6 hours after the start of the accounting unit’s next regular workday.

3. If the accounting unit is located off-site, then wages are due no later than 24 hours

after the start of the accounting unit’s next regular workday.

Employee quits or resigns

Wages are due by or on the next regular payday. (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §8-4-104)

Connecticut

If employee is fired: next business day. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §31-71c)

Delaware

Next scheduled payday. (Del. Code Ann. tit. 19, §1103)

Accrued vacation pay need not be part of final paycheck.

District of Columbia

If employee is fired: next business day. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or seven days, whichever is sooner. (D.C. Code §32-1303)

Florida

No statute

Georgia

No statute

Hawaii

If employee is fired: immediately. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §388-3)

Idaho

Next scheduled payday or within 10 business days, whichever is sooner. If written request made for earlier payment, within 48 hours. (Idaho Code §45-606)

Illinois

Next scheduled payday. (820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 115/5)

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck.

Indiana

Next scheduled payday except for railroad employees, who are covered under federal law. If an employee leaves voluntarily and his or her whereabouts are unknown, the employer need not issue the final paycheck at the next regularly scheduled payday and may wait until 10 days have passed since an employee has furnished an address. (Ind. Code §§22-2-9-2 and 22-2-5-1)

Iowa

Next scheduled payday. (Iowa Code Ann. §91A.4)

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck.

Kansas

If employee leaves or is discharged, next scheduled payday. (Kan. Stat. Ann. §44-315)

Kentucky

If employee is fired: next scheduled payday or within 14 days, whichever is later. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §337.055)

Accrued vacation pay need not be part of final paycheck.

Louisiana

If employee is fired: within three days. If employee resigns: on or before the next regular payday or within 15 days following the resignation, whichever comes first. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §23:631

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck.

Maine

Next scheduled payday or within two weeks after demand, whichever is earlier. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 26, § 626)

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck.

Maryland

Next scheduled payday. (Md. Lab. & Emp. Code Ann. §3-505)

Massachusetts

If employee is fired: immediately. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 149 §148)

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck.

Michigan

As soon as amount can be determined with due diligence. (Mich. Comp. Laws §408.475)

Minnesota

If employee is fired: within 24 hours. If employee quits: not later than the first regularly scheduled payday following the final day of work. If this is less than five days after the last day of work, then the paycheck may be delayed until the next regularly schedule payday, or within 20 days of the final day of work, whichever is sooner. (Minn. Stat. §§181.13 and 181.14)

Mississippi

No statute

Missouri

If employee is fired: immediately. The employee may request in writing that the pay be sent by mail, and if it does not arrive within seven days of the request, the employee is entitled to sue for them. If employee quits: no applicable law. (Mo. Ann. Stat. §290.110)

Montana

If employee is fired for cause: immediately. If employee quits: next payday or 15 days, whichever comes first. (Mont. Code Ann. §39-3-205)

Nebraska

If employee is fired: next scheduled payday or within two weeks, whichever is sooner. If employee quits: no applicable law. (Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-1230)

Nevada

If employee is fired: immediately. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or within seven days, whichever is earlier. (Nev. Rev. Stat. §§608.020 to 608.050)

New Hampshire

If employee is fired: within 72 hours. If employee quits: next scheduled payday; or if employee gives at least one pay period’s notice, within 72 hours of the last day of work. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §275:44)

New Jersey

Next scheduled payday. (N.J. Stat. Ann. §34:11-4.3)

New Mexico

If employee is fired: due immediately and payable within 5 days. However, if the pay is not based on a set amount but is calculated according to commission, task or other method of computation, it is due and payable within 10 days. If employee quits and does not have a written employment contract for a definite period: next payday. (N.M. Stat. Ann. §§50-4-4 and 50-4-5)

New York

Next scheduled payday. (N.Y. Labor Laws §191)

Accrued vacation pay need not be part of final paycheck.

North Carolina

Next scheduled payday. However, wages based on commissions, bonuses or other methods of calculation are due on the next regularly scheduled payday following that calculation. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §95.25.7)

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck.

North Dakota

If employee is fired: immediately; must be paid by certified mail within 15 days or the next scheduled payday, whichever comes first. If employee resigns: next scheduled payday. (N.D. Cent. Code §34-14-03)

Ohio

No statute

Oklahoma

Next scheduled payday. (Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 40, §165.3)

Oregon

If employee is fired: immediately. If employee quits: immediately as long as he or she has given 48 hours notice. If less than 48 hours notice has been given, within five days or the next payday, whichever occurs first. For seasonal farmworkers who have given 48 hours notice of quitting: immediately; if less than 48 hours notice, 48 hours or next payday, whichever comes first. (Or. Rev. Stat. §652.140)

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck.

Pennsylvania

Next scheduled payday. (43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §260.5)

Rhode Island

Next scheduled payday. (R.I. Gen. Laws §28-14-4)

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck.

South Carolina

Within 48 hours or next scheduled payday, which may not be more than 30 days. (S.C. Codified Laws §41-10-50)

South Dakota

If employee is fired or quit: next scheduled payday. (S.D. Codified Laws §§60-11-10 and 60-11-11)

Tennessee

Next scheduled payday or 21 days, whichever occurs later. (Tenn. Code. Ann. §50-2-103)

Accrued vacation benefits must be paid as wages with final paycheck.

Texas

If employee is fired: within six days. If employee quits: next regularly scheduled payday. (Texas Code Ann., Labor §61.014)

Utah

If employee is fired: within 24 hours. If employee quits and there was not an employment contract for a definite period: next regular payday. (Utah Code Ann. §34-28-5)

Vermont

If employee is fired: within 72 hours. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or, if no scheduled payday exists, the next Friday. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, §342)

Virginia

Next scheduled payday. (Va. Code §40.1-29)

Washington

Next scheduled payday. (Wash. Rev. Code §49.48.010)

West Virginia

If employee is fired: within 72 hours. If employee quits: next regular payday; if employee has given one pay period of notice: immediately. (W. Va. Code §21-5-4)

Wisconsin

Any employee, except a salesperson paid by commission, who does not have an employment contract and who quits or is fired: next regular payday but not more than a month later. (Wis. Stat. Ann. §109.03)

Wyoming

Five business days. (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §27-4-105)

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