Across Arizona, an employee’s first question after losing their job is often “when will I receive my final paycheck?” Leaving a position, whether you quit or you were laid off, can be an intense and stressful time. The situation can be highly-charged and both employee and employer will have questions about how to proceed.
For both the employee and the employer, Arizona has some important final paycheck rules that everyone should be know. State law regulates when an employee should receive their final paycheck, how it will be paid, and explains what can happen if these rules are ignored.
When an employee is laid off, Arizona law makes it clear that they should receive all wages owed to them within seven working days of their last day, or by the end of the employer’s next regular pay period (whichever happens first). This must be paid by check, draft, money order, warrant or bank deposit. It should not be dated later than the day it is paid.
If an employer fails to comply with these rules, they could be subject to a civil action by the employee for unpaid wages. If a court finds that an organization has acted incorrectly, it could ultimately result in the company being ordered to pay a figure that is treble (triple) the amount of the wages claimed.
If an employee quits their job, Arizona state law says that their employer must pay all wages due to them by no later than the next regular payday after they resigned. An employee can request that their final paycheck be sent by mail.
In general, Arizona state law says that an employer cannot withhold an employee’s wages. However, a final paycheck could be held back if there is a reasonable dispute over the amount of wages due, including if the employer is claiming a debt or a need for reimbursement from the employee.
If your employer is withholding final paychecks, then you can try to handle it on your own by completing the unpaid wages claim form. However, this process can take time and your former employer may not be responsive, so consulting with an employment or labor law attorney can help speed up the process or assist you with any disputes over the unpaid wages.
There is no legal requirement in Arizona that employers offer paid vacation to their employees. Of course, many still do and this raises a common question of whether unused vacation must be paid out as part of the final paycheck.
In general, Arizona law says that the final paycheck must include all compensation which the employee had a reasonable expectation they would receive. When it comes to vacation, these expectations will likely be based on the policies and procedures of their employer.
Employees should look carefully at their contract to see whether they have agreed to a specific policy on unused vacation days. For employers, they must approach the topic sensibly to properly consider what policies on vacation they intend to create.
If you worked for the federal government, there may be certain rights reserved by the government or federal law that may apply regarding your final paycheck.
Depending on your job, you may be required to submit a form or checklist to formalize you are no longer working for your employer and ensure you receive your final paycheck in a timely manner. Additionally, federal employees receive a lump-sum payment of any left over annual leave along with their final pay.
Failing to follow any special rules for your employer or department may result in your final paycheck being withheld or sent out later, as the federal government does not require a final paycheck to be sent out immediately. In this case, you may need to contact the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division or contact an attorney for assistance in recovering your wages from your past pay period.
Have you been discriminated against by a potential or current employer — either as a job applicant or current employee? To best protect your legal rights, you should discuss your situation with an employment lawyer. An attorney can help you determine what your options are for seeking justice and level the playing field against corporate lawyers. Meet with a local wage and hour attorney sooner rather than later to protect your rights.
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