Final Paycheck Rules by State

Leaving your employer and a steady paycheck is an intimidating prospect, even if you are leaving on good terms or you have a new position lined up. Whether you quit your current job or were laid off, most people in your position find themselves wondering, “When will I get my final paycheck?”

Separating from an employer may be uncharted territory for you, but each state provides its own final paycheck rules, along with complying with other federal regulations set by the Department of Labor. It’s important to figure out the final paycheck rules for employees and employers so you know your rights and what happens if your employer ignores these rules.

How Soon Can I Receive My Final Paycheck?

A majority of states set guidelines for the amount of time an employer has to send their former employee their final check. Some states specify different amounts of times for employees who were laid off and employees who quit.

States that don’t have any law or statute controlling the final paycheck fall back on federal law, which does not require a final paycheck to be sent out immediately. If you still don’t receive your paycheck, you have a few options available to receive assistance:

  • Contact your state’s labor department
  • Contact the federal Department of Labor
  • Hire an employment attorney to help you navigate your specific situation

Method of Final Paycheck

A majority of states require a final paycheck to be an actual physical check so that you have access to important information on your pay stub that you may need for your taxes.

Benefit Payouts

Often employment agreements or company benefit policies may allow you to receive a payment for any unused vacation or sick days, or other benefits. Some companies require a person to give a minimum of two weeks’ notice when quitting in order to qualify for this type of payout with your final paycheck.

If your employer refuses to give you a payout for benefits you are entitled to, then you may contact the labor department in your state, the U.S. Department of Labor, or an attorney to help you receive your payout.

Federal Law and Final Paychecks

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require an employer to give their former employees their final paycheck immediately. Instead, an employer can wait until the next regularly scheduled payday to send the final paycheck.

Employees of the Federal Government

Federal employees may be subject to additional final paycheck rules depending on the type of job they have. Some federal employers may require a former employee to submit a form or complete an exit task checklist to memorialize their separation from federal employment.

Most federal employees are eligible to receive a lump-sum payout of their leftover annual leave along with their final paycheck, so don’t be alarmed if your check looks a little larger than expected!

By not taking any steps required by your personnel or human resources departments, your final paycheck may be withheld until you complete the necessary actions. You may need to contact the U.S. Department of Labor, specifically the Wage and Hour Division, for further assistance.

Final Paycheck Rules by State

Each state has its own specific rules dictating an employee’s final paycheck. It’s important to familiarize yourself with how your state handles this area of law to make sure you receive all the final wages you are entitled to upon separation. Keep in mind that state laws frequently change, employment agreements may in some cases modify default rules in a state, and court cases can also influence state law. That is why it is important to speak to an employment law attorney if you have questions regarding your final paycheck.

Find your state laws below:

Alabama

Applicable Law: None.

State Website: Alabama Department of Labor

There is no law that dictates when to issue a final paycheck or how it shall be paid.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

If an employer is withholding the final paycheck, the employee may contact the Alabama Department of Labor for assistance.

Ala. Code 8-24-1 does specify that any commissions due at the end of an employment contract must be paid within 30 days from termination. Withholding a commission check may make an employer liable for three times the original amount plus any attorney fees and court costs.

Does an Employer Have to Pay for Unused Paid Leave or Other Benefits?

Any vacation or sick day payouts on your company’s benefits policy and your employment agreement. Some companies require giving a minimum of two weeks’ notice in order to be eligible for a payout of unused vacation or sick days.

If you believe you qualify for this type of payout along with your final paycheck but do not receive it, you can reach out to the Alabama Department of Labor for assistance as well.

Alaska

Applicable Law: Alaska Stat. § 23.05.140

State Website: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development

What Are the Final Paycheck Rules in Alaska if an Employee Is Laid Off?

Employers in Alaska must provide laid-off or fired employees with their final paycheck within three working days.

What Are the Final Paycheck Rules in Alaska if an Employee Quits?

If the employee quits, the employer has until the next scheduled payday that is at least three days after the employee gives notice to issue the final paycheck.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Sometimes an employer may withhold a final paycheck or a portion of a paycheck if the employee owes any outstanding debts to them or if the amount of the final paycheck is in dispute.

Employees can file a claim with the state labor department within two years from the date they actually performed the work. This claim may include regular wages, additional or overtime wages, and other promised benefits. The former employer has 20 days to respond to the claim.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Paid Leave or Other Benefits in a Final Paycheck?

Alaska does include unused vacation or sick days in the employee’s final paycheck, along with any commissions or bonuses.

Arizona

Applicable Law: Arizona Revised Statute § 23-353

State Website: Industrial Commission of Arizona

Arizona law says that the final paycheck must include all compensation which the employee had a reasonable expectation they would receive. 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.

What Are the Final Paycheck Rules in Arizona if an Employee Is Laid Off?

An employer must give a former employee their final paycheck within seven working days of their last day or by the end of the next regular pay period, whichever occurs first.

What Are the Final paycheck rules in Arizona if an Employee Quits?

If an employee quits their job, Arizona law says that their employer must pay all wages due to them by no later than the next regular payday after they resign.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

In general, Arizona 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 wages, 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 a labor law attorney can help speed up the process.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Paid Leave or Other Benefits?

When it comes to vacation time, there is no legal requirement in Arizona that employers offer paid vacation to their employees. Employees should look carefully at their contract to see whether they have agreed to a specific policy on unused vacation days.

Arkansas

Applicable Law: Arkansas Code § 11-4-405Arkansas Labor Standards

State Website: Arkansas Department of Labor & Licensing

Whether an employee is fired or quits, Arkansas law states that the former employer must provide the final paycheck by the next regularly scheduled payday.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

In Arkansas, a final paycheck can be withheld under circumstances where the employee owes their former employer debts or the amount is in dispute.

If the employer still does not give the employee their final check, the employee may contact the Arkansas Department of Labor & Licensing to file a claim. If the department determines the employee is entitled to the final paycheck, the employer may have to pay double the original amount of wages due within seven days of the next regularly scheduled payday.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Paid Leave or Other Benefits?

Arkansas law does not require private employers to pay out unused leave days or other benefits like a discretionary bonus. An employee should check to see if their employment agreement or company policy entitled them to this payout with their final paycheck.

California

Applicable Law: California Labor Code § 201 § 202 § 227.3

State Website: California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and the Office of the Labor Commissioner

California law states that an employee who is fired should receive their final paycheck immediately. If an employee quits, then the employer has up to 72 hours to give the employee their final paycheck. But if the employee gives at least 72 hours notice, then the employer must provide the final paycheck immediately.

Some types of employment have specific final paycheck requirements, such as seasonal farmworkers and employees in movie production, the oil drilling business, or musical or theatrical productions.

Generally, any direct deposit payment of wages terminates immediately after the employee is terminated or quits unless the employee authorizes direct deposit for the last paycheck.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

An employer may withhold a portion or all of a final paycheck if there is a good faith dispute about the amount of wages. However, the employer must pay the employee whatever wages are not in dispute as soon as possible.

An employee may file a claim with the Division of Labor Standards if the good faith dispute cannot be settled, or the employee may contact a labor law attorney for further guidance.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Paid Leave or Other Benefits?

Yes, California includes all wages in the final paycheck, including unused paid leave and other benefits.

Colorado

Applicable Law: Colorado Revised Statute § 8-4-109

State Website: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

When an employee quits or resigns, the final paycheck is due by or on the next regularly scheduled payday.

If the employee was terminated, the employer owes the employee their final paycheck either:

  • Immediately if the accounting department is available;
  • No later than six hours after the accounting department’s next workday if they are not operating at the time of termination; or
  • No later than six hours into an off-site accounting department’s next working day or no later than 24 hours if the accounting department is off-site and not currently operating

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

An employer may withhold a final paycheck for 10 days to audit and make adjustments for any debts the employee may owe to the employer. If an employer still refuses to pay the employee, the employee may send a written demand within 60 days of termination stating where to send their final paycheck.

If the employer still does not send the final paycheck within 14 days, then the employer is liable for all the wages owed plus a penalty for the greater amount of either 10 days of wages or 125% of the amount owed. While an employee can file a complaint with the Department of Labor, they may only recover additional penalties by filing a lawsuit.

Does an Employer Have to Pay for Unused Paid Leave or Other Benefits in a Final Paycheck?

Final paychecks in Colorado include all earned amounts for labor or services. This may include bonuses, commissions, or vacation days, depending on the terms of employment.

Connecticut

Applicable Laws: Connecticut General Statutes § 31-71c

State Website: Connecticut Department of Labor

When an employee is fired or laid off, the employer must pay the employee by the end of the next business day. Employees who resign or quit are entitled to their final paycheck with all wages by the next regularly scheduled payday.

Connecticut law has a provision for employees who are suspended or resign as a result of a labor dispute. The employee is entitled to their final paycheck by the next regularly scheduled payday.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

An employer generally cannot withhold a final paycheck from an employee in Connecticut. If an employer is withholding final wages, the employee can file a complaint form with the Wage and Workplace Standards Division of the Connecticut Department of Labor.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Connecticut does not require employers to pay out unused vacation time or other benefits. However, an employment agreement or company policy may specify if an employee is eligible to receive payment for these benefits.

Delaware

Applicable Laws: Delaware Code Annotated Title 19 § 1103

State Website: Delaware Department of Labor

Whether an employee is fired or quits, Delaware law entitles an employee to their final paycheck by the next scheduled payday. An employee may request their former employer send their final check by mail as well.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

In Delaware, an employer generally may not withhold an employee’s wages unless expressly allowed to do so by law or if there are reasonable grounds for dispute about the wages.

If the employer continues to withhold the final paycheck, an employee may file a claim with the state or file a lawsuit to receive their wages. The employer may be liable for the wages in the final paycheck, as well as 10% of the unpaid wages for each business day the employer failed to provide the final paycheck.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Payouts of unused paid leave or other accrued benefits are determined by the employer’s policy. If the policy or employment agreement specifies a payout of paid leave when the employee is terminated, then the employer is bound to pay it.

But if the employer policy and the employment agreement is silent and does not mention the issue, then the employer does not have to pay it.

District of Columbia

Applicable Laws: District of Columbia Code § 32-1303

State Website: D.C. Department of Employment ServicesD.C. Office of Human Rights

When an employee is fired, laid off, or suspended from a labor dispute, the employer needs to provide the final paycheck on the next business day. For employees who resign, their final paycheck should be given by the next scheduled payday or within seven days, whichever occurs first.

Typically, a final paycheck is sent through direct deposit unless the employee specifies they would like a physical check.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Generally, an employer cannot withhold a final paycheck from former employees. If an employer continues to withhold a final paycheck, an employee may file a complaint with the Department of Employment Services or Office of Human Rights.

However, there may be some circumstances where an employer can give the employee written notice that they have a bona fide dispute regarding the final amount of wages owed. Generally, this occurs when an employee quits but still owes an outstanding debt to their employer. In this instance, an employer may only hold onto the amount in dispute and has to pay their former employee the remaining balance.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

An employee may receive payment for unused vacation time when terminated if the employer includes this benefit as a part of their employee compensation or if no provision in the employment agreement prohibits it.

Florida

Applicable Laws: No applicable statutes.

State Website: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

There is not a specific Florida statute or law requiring employers to provide final paychecks within a minimum time period. Florida employers generally follow the Department of Labor’s provision of delivering a final paycheck by the end of the next regularly scheduled pay period, which is usually a maximum period of 30 days between pay periods.

If an employer specifies a timeframe in their employment policies or an employment agreement, it is typically considered enforceable so long as it doesn’t exceed 30 days.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Employers are generally not allowed to withhold any wages unless the employee expressly consents, the employee owes a debt to the employer, or the deduction is required by law from a court order or for taxes.

If the employee is unable to resolve a dispute over final wages with their former employer, the employee may file a claim with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity or the U.S. Department of Labor. By filing a claim, the department can work to recover the wages from the employer on the employee’s behalf.

A labor law attorney may also be another helpful resource for an employee trying to recover their final paycheck. In some circumstances, an employee can seek out not only their unpaid wages but also any associated attorney fees or penalties from their former employer.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Florida does not require employers to include leave payouts with their final paycheck unless it is specified in an employment agreement or employer policy as part of the compensation package. However, if there is no prior agreement, it is unlikely that an employee can receive leave payouts with their final paycheck.

Georgia

Applicable Laws: No applicable statute.

State Website: Georgia Department of Labor

Georgia law does not specify any rules for an employer giving a former employee a final paycheck, but most employers are required to pay their employees on a semi-monthly basis at minimum. Accordingly, final paychecks are typically distributed on the next scheduled payday as provided in the FLSA.

There are some professions that do not use semi-monthly pay schedules and are exempt from this requirement, like employees working in the farming, sawmill, or turpentine industries. Some officials or department heads are paid on a monthly or a yearly basis, so their final paycheck is paid in accordance with their next scheduled payday.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Generally, an employer cannot withhold a final paycheck indefinitely. Employers may be allowed to withhold any debts that employees owe them or dispute a specific amount of wages.

Employees who cannot reach a resolution may file a claim with the Georgia or federal Department of Labor. Employees can also file a case in small claims court or even hire an employment law attorney.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Georgia does not require an employer to pay their former employee for unused leave or other benefits unless it was expressly included in their employment contract or in the compensation policy.

Hawaii

Applicable Laws: Hawaii Revised Statute § 388-3

State Website: Hawaii Department of Labor & Industrial Relations

In Hawaii, an employee who is fired must receive their final paycheck immediately or on the next business day if an immediate payment is not possible.

For employees who quit or resign, their former employer must give them their final paycheck during the next scheduled payday. Employees who give advance notice of at least one pay period must receive their final check immediately on their last day of employment.

An employee may request to receive their final paycheck by mail or through their normal means of delivery, such as direct deposit.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Generally, Hawaii law does not allow an employer to withhold an employee’s final paycheck, but an employer may dispute a portion of or the whole amount of unpaid wages.

If the employer is withholding a final paycheck, an employee may file a claim with the state or the federal labor department. Hawaii also may require an employer to pay civil as well as criminal penalties for failing to give a former employee their final paycheck. A labor law attorney can be a helpful tool to maximize the amount of wages and potential damages an employee receive.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Hawaii does not require an employer to include unused vacation days or other leave unless it is expressly written into the employment agreement or if it is the common practice of the employer.

Idaho

Applicable Laws: Idaho Code § 45-606 and § 45-617

State Website: Idaho Department of Labor

In Idaho, an employee who resigns or is terminated from their employment may receive their final paycheck by the next scheduled payday or within 10 days, whichever date comes first.

Employees may make a written request to receive their final paycheck earlier and receive it within 48 hours instead, excluding weekends and holidays.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Employers in Idaho generally may not withhold any portion of an employee’s wages unless expressly authorized by law or the employee. However, sometimes an employer may be able to dispute the amount of wages they owe if the employee owes them any debts.

If an employer continues to withhold a final paycheck, an employee may file a claim with the state or federal labor department. In Idaho, an employer may be penalized up to $750 for failing to pay their employee after their separation. Hiring an employment law attorney is also another route to recovering unpaid wages and possibly other costs, such as legal fees.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Idaho only requires an employer to pay a former employee their unused leave or vacation time if it is included in the employment agreement or if the employer’s policy requires it.

Illinois

Applicable Laws: Illinois Compiled Statutes 820 ILCS 115/5

State Website: Illinois Department of Labor

Whether an employee is terminated or resigns, Illinois law states that the final paycheck must be given immediately if possible but no later than the next regularly scheduled payday.

An employee may request their final paycheck to be paid by physical check via mail or they may receive the payment through usual means like direct deposit.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Generally, an employer may not withhold a final paycheck in Illinois. Employees may file a claim with the Illinois Department of Labor online or consult with a local employment law attorney to help determine the best path to receive the wages they are due.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

In Illinois, the final paycheck must include the monetary equivalent of any unused vacation time. Generally, a payout of vacation days is only prohibited if there is a collective bargaining agreement that specifically prohibits this type of payout.

Indiana

Applicable Laws: Indiana Code § 22-2-9-2 and § 22-2-5-1

State Website: Indiana Department of Labor

When an employee is fired or quits, Indiana law requires employers to issue the last paycheck by the next scheduled payday.

However, sometimes an employee may quit without providing a mailing address for the final paycheck. In that case, the employer has until either 10 days from the time the employee requests their wages or until the employee provides a mailing address.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Generally, an employer cannot withhold an entire paycheck in Indiana. The final paycheck must include all earned unpaid wages.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

An employer must only pay a former employee for unused leave or other benefits if it is an established policy of the company or in the employment agreement. Some Indiana employers include policies that disqualify employees from collecting unused leave if they fail to give adequate notice or other specific requirements.

Iowa

Applicable Laws: Iowa Code § 91A.4

State Website: Iowa Workforce Development

Iowa law requires employers to send an employee’s final paycheck by the next scheduled payday whether they quit or were fired.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

In Iowa, employers cannot withhold a final paycheck and must compensate the former employee for all earned, unpaid wages.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

An employer must only pay unused paid leave if it is in the employment contract or if it is company policy. If not, then unused paid leave is typically not included in a final paycheck.

Kansas

Applicable Laws: Kansas Statute § 44-315

State Website: Kansas Department of Labor

Employers must send a former employee’s final paycheck by the next scheduled payday regardless of how their employment ended. The final paycheck can be sent through normal payment methods like direct deposit or by mail. The check must be postmarked within the designated deadline.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

In Kansas, the former employer may only withhold an employee’s final paycheck or a portion of it for legal purposes like taxes or garnishments or if the employee authorized it for benefits like health care.

If the employer fails to provide the final paycheck as required, then they may face penalties of an additional 1% of those wages for each business day the wages are withheld.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Generally, Kansas does not require employers to pay out unused leave unless it is included in the employment policy or the employment contract.

Kentucky

Applicable Laws: Kentucky Revised Statute § 337.055

State Website: Kentucky Labor Cabinet

Whether an employee is fired or quits, Kentucky law requires the former employer to provide the final paycheck no later than the next scheduled payday or within 14 days.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Kentucky does not allow an employee to completely withhold a final paycheck and must pay all earned, unpaid wages.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Kentucky law refers to unused vacation days as “vested vacation pay” and considers it a matter of contract between employer and employee. Employers must include this payment with the final wages. However, the employer does not have to pay for vacation time that has neither “vested” nor accrued by the terms of the employment contract or policy.

Louisiana

Applicable Laws: Louisiana Revised Statute § 23:631

State Website: Louisiana Workforce Commission

Louisiana employer must send a former employee their final paycheck by the next scheduled payday or within 15 days, whichever occurs earlier.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

An employer cannot withhold a final paycheck completely, but they may withhold part of the final wages any unpaid debts to the employer.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Louisiana does include unused paid leave in the final paycheck for employees who qualify under a company’s leave policy.

Maine

Applicable Laws: Maine Revised Statute tit. 26 § 626

State Website: Maine Department of Labor

In Maine, the final paycheck rule is the same for employees who are fired or quit. The former employer must issue a final paycheck to an employee by the next scheduled payday or within two weeks of the employee’s request for their final paycheck, whichever occurs earlier.

Final paychecks sent in the mail must be sent out so that it reaches the employee no later than the next scheduled payday. The employee also has the option of picking up their final paycheck in person on the next payday as well.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Employers in Maine may not withhold a final paycheck. If an employer is refusing to give an employee their final paycheck, Maine workers can call the Maine Department of Labor to speak with a representative in the Wage and Hour Department.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Maine requires employers to pay employees unused vacation time in the final paycheck if the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract specifically states that the unused balance will be paid upon termination.

Maryland

Applicable Laws: Maryland Labor and Employment Code § 3-505

State Website: Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

Maryland employers must give former employees their final paychecks on the next regularly scheduled pay date, whether they were fired or quit.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Employers in Maryland may not withhold any part of any paycheck unless authorized by law or the employee. If an employee is denied their final paycheck in Maryland, there are three options under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law.

The first is to file a claim online with the Maryland Department of Labor. The state will open an investigation and try to remedy the situation in an informal manner.

The next option is to file a formal lawsuit against the employer. If the court finds in the employee’s favor, the court may require the employer to pay damages up to three times the amount of the final paycheck plus attorney fees as well.

For more serious cases where the employer intentionally withholds the final paycheck, the employee may file criminal charges. The employer may face criminal penalties if the court finds the employer deliberately fails to give their former employee their final paycheck.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Maryland relies on the language used in the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract to determine if unused paid leave is included in the final paycheck. Generally, if there is no written policy, an employee may receive the cash value of their remaining unused accrued vacation time. However, if the employer’s policy or contract states there is no vacation time payout, Maryland does not require this to be paid in the final paycheck.

Unused sick leave is generally not included in the final paycheck unless it is specifically stated in the employee’s contract or the employer’s policy.

Massachusetts

Applicable Laws: Massachusetts General Laws ch. 149 § 148

State Website: Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor & Workforce DevelopmentFair Labor Division, Office of the Attorney General

In Massachusetts, an employee who is fired or laid off must be paid in full on the day of separation. For employees who quit their job, the employer must issue their final paycheck by the next regularly scheduled payday. If there is no scheduled payday, then the final paycheck must be issued by the following Saturday.

When calculating the final paycheck, Massachusetts law requires employers to comply with the Sunday wage rules and other relevant laws, such as tip-pooling.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

An employer may not withhold a final paycheck in Massachusetts unless authorized by law or with the written consent of the employee.

Employees who are denied their final paycheck have a few options. They may file a complaint online or by phone with the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. Another option is to file a claim in a local small claims court for a final paycheck of $7,000 or less.

Claims for final paychecks of more than $7,000 require a civil lawsuit. Massachusetts law allows employees to file employment law lawsuits as well as contract or tort claims to recover their final paychecks and other relevant damages.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Massachusetts law requires employers to pay out any unused accrued paid vacation in the final paycheck when the employee has been fired. Massachusetts law does not include sick days in the final paycheck. However, an employer is required to include any unused paid leave, whether vacation or sick leave, if it is stated in the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract.

Michigan

Applicable Laws: Michigan Compensation Laws § 408.474 and § 408.475

State Website: Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity

Generally, Michigan employers must issue a final paycheck no later than the next regularly scheduled pay date, whether the employee left the job or was fired.

Some specific types of employment have different rules. For example, a hand harvester must receive their final paycheck within one day of their termination or within three days of quitting.

For contract employees, the final paycheck amount cannot be determined until the contract is officially terminated. Once that occurs, the employer must either pay the employee the full wage amount if the employee completed the contract or estimate the amount of wages earned if the contract was terminated early.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Under Michigan law, an employer cannot totally withhold a final paycheck. The employer is required to pay the employee compensation for all earned, unpaid wages unless the employer is authorized by law or by the employee to withhold a portion of it.

If an employee does not receive their final paycheck or their employer refuses to issue it, the employee can file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Michigan law classifies vacation or sick leave as a “fringe benefit.” The law looks at the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract when determining if a final paycheck must include any type of unused leave time.

Minnesota

Applicable Laws: Minnesota Statutes § 181.11§ 181.13, and § 181.14

State Website: Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

When an employee is fired or laid off in Minnesota, the final paycheck must be paid within 24 hours of the employee’s written request for payment.

Employees who quit their job must be issued their final paycheck by the next payday that is more than five days after the employee put in their notice but less than 20 days after they separate from their employment.

Minnesota gives employers an extra 10 calendar days after an employee separates for instances where the former employee was entrusted with company property or money during their employment. This period allows the employer to audit the accounts of the former employee before paying the final paycheck.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Employers cannot withhold a final paycheck unless authorized by law or the written consent of the employee. Minnesota law requires employers to pay all wages and commissions in the final paycheck.

If an employee is denied their final paycheck, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry first suggests that the employee should write a letter to the former employer demanding the final paycheck. If the employer still does not send the final paycheck, an employee may file a wage claim with the Labor Standards Unit. From there, the State will investigate the matter and try to reach an informal resolution outside of court.

Another option is for the employee to file a lawsuit to receive their final paycheck along with damages. These damages can include attorney fees and a day of average wages for each day their employer withheld their paycheck, up to a total of 15 days. For amounts of wages and damages of $15,000 or less, an employee may file a claim in small claims court or conciliation court. Minnesota requires claims over $15,000 to be filed in district court.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Minnesota law allows the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract to determine whether any unused paid leave or other benefits are included in the final paycheck. If the employee is not paid their owed benefits, the employee may bring a claim against the employer in the county where they worked in the conciliation court.

Mississippi

Applicable Laws: No relevant statutes

State Website: Mississippi Department of Employment Security

Mississippi law does set any state-specific final paycheck requirements. However, Mississippi employers are still expected to follow the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires an employer to provide a final paycheck to an employee by the next scheduled payday, whether the employee was let go or quit.

However, Mississippi does require an employer to follow any final paycheck specifications set forth in the employer’s policies or the employee’s contract.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Mississippi does not allow an employer to withhold a final paycheck completely, but there are some circumstances where the employer may withhold a portion of the amount of final wages to be paid.

Typically, an employer may only withhold wages if authorized by law or written consent of the employee. However, Mississippi has no law preventing an employer from withholding wages for damage or destroyed company property, but employees may file a claim and dispute this amount if they feel it is incorrect.

Whether an employer withholds an entire final paycheck or just part of it, the employee may contact the Mississippi Department of Employment Security or the U.S. Department of Labor to file a claim.

Employees also have the option of filing a lawsuit against their employer to recover their final paycheck or other damages suffered.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Since Mississippi law does not provide a statute on final wages or paychecks, generally an employer is bound to pay an employee any unused leave or other benefits in accordance with the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract.

Missouri

Applicable Laws: Missouri Revised Statute § 290.110

State Website: Missouri Department Labor & Industrial Relations

Missouri employers must issue a final paycheck to an employee immediately when an employee is fired or let go. If the employer is unable to issue the final paycheck at that time an employee was let go, the employee should make a written request for their final paycheck to their employer via certified mail. From there, the employer has seven days to respond or issue the final paycheck.

However, there is no Missouri law that specifies when the final paycheck is due for employees who quit their job. Because there is no state law, the employer must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act and provide the final paycheck to the employee by the next regularly scheduled payday.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

While an employer may not completely withhold a final paycheck, but there are some circumstances where an employer may withhold a portion of the wages. Typically, employers may only withhold wages if authorized by law or with the written consent of the employee. Missouri law allows employers to deduct a portion of the wages for property damage or shortages from a cash register. However, the total wages cannot fall below the state or federal minimum wage rate.

When an employer withholds a part or the entirety of an employee’s final paycheck, an employee has a few courses of action. An employee may opt for filing a claim with the United States Department of Labor. The employee may contact the Missouri Department of Labor for further guidance or assistance, but the state cannot collect any wages on behalf of an individual. The employee will have to pursue legal action to receive payment.

If the final paycheck amount is less than $5,000, the employee may file a claim on their own in small claims court. Final paychecks over $5,000 must be filed in the circuit court, oftentimes with the help of an employment law attorney.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Missouri does not have a law that requires employers to include unused paid vacation or sick leave in a final paycheck. Instead, Missouri law looks to see what the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract states regarding the payment of unused leave time or other “fringe benefits.”

When an employee is entitled to a payout for their unpaid leave and their employer does not include it in the final paycheck, Missouri law allows the employee to file a claim against their employer.

Montana

Applicable Laws: Montana Code § 39-3-205

State Website: Montana Department of Labor and Industry

When an employee is terminated in Montana, the employer must issue their final paycheck within four hours or by the end of the business day, whichever comes first.

Sometimes, employers have a written policy that extends this period. In these cases, employers must issue the final paycheck by the next pay period or within 15 calendar days, whichever occurs first.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, Montana law does not permit employers to withhold final paychecks unless authorized by law.

When an employer refuses to issue a final check, employees can file a wages claim with the Investigations Section of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry either online or in person. Another option is to file a claim in small claims court or in civil court with the help of an employment law attorney.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Montana does not permit “use it or lose it” vacation policies. Earned vacation time is considered part of an employee’s wages, so any unused vacation time is included in the final paycheck. However, Montana law does not require employers to payout sick leave or paid time off. The employer’s policy or employee’s contract determines whether these benefits will be paid out.

Nebraska

Applicable Laws: Nebraska Revised Statute § 48-1230

State Website: Nebraska Department of Labor

Nebraska requires employers to issue final paychecks by the next scheduled payday or within two weeks, whichever comes first. This policy applies whether an employee was fired or quit.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Employers in Nebraska may not withhold an employee’s final paycheck, even if the employer is still waiting for the return of company property. If an employer refuses to issue a final paycheck, one option available is filing a wage complaint with the Nebraska Department of Labor. Another option is to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit to recover owed wages in civil court.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Nebraska requires employers to include all earned vacation and paid time off benefits in the final paycheck.

Nevada

Applicable Laws: Nevada Revised Statutes 680.020-NRS 608.040

State Website: Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner

When an employee quits, Nevada requires employers to issue the final paycheck within seven days or by the next payday, whichever comes first. However, when an employee is fired, the employer must issue the final paycheck within three days. When calculating these days, Nevada excludes the first day and includes the last day, unless it falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. In that case, the last day is considered the next business day.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Nevada law does not permit employers to withhold final paychecks from their employees. An employer is only permitted to withhold part of a paycheck if authorized by law or expressly authorized by the employee themself.

Employees seeking a final paycheck can file a wage complaint with the Labor Commissioner. Another option is filing a lawsuit in court. An employment and labor attorney can help workers navigate through this process. If the state determines that an employer intentionally withheld a final paycheck, they can be forced to pay damages in addition to the wages.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Nevada does not require employers to pay out unused leave unless company policy or the contract with an employee states that the employee will receive payment for unused vacation time.

New Hampshire

Applicable Laws: New Hampshire Revised Statute § 275:44

State Website: New Hampshire Department of Labor

When an employee quits, New Hampshire law requires the final paycheck to be issued by the next regular payday. However, if the employee is fired, the employer must issue the final paycheck within 72 hours.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, New Hampshire employers may only withhold a paycheck or make deductions when authorized by state or federal law, such as for taxes, or for an employee benefit with prior written authorization, such as insurance.

If an employer refuses to issue a final paycheck, former employees can file a wage claim with the New Hampshire Department of Labor either by fax or mail no earlier than 36 hours after the paycheck was due.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

New Hampshire law does not require employers to include these payouts in the final paycheck unless it is provided in the employer’s policy or employment contract prior to separation.

New Jersey

Applicable Laws: New Jersey Statute § 34:11-4.3

State Website: New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

New Jersey law requires employers to issue final paychecks by the next regular payday regardless of whether the employee quit or was fired.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, an employer cannot withhold a final paycheck. Any deductions made from a paycheck in New Jersey must be authorized by law or by written authorization of the employee for a benefit like insurance.

If an employer is withholding a final paycheck, employees can file a wage claim with the state’s Department of Labor. A field investigator is assigned to the case, makes an assessment, and then they will schedule a wage claim proceeding if they determine the employer owes a portion or all of the unpaid wages.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

New Jersey does not require employers to include this payout in a final paycheck unless there is an existing employer policy or employment contract specifying that this benefit is due.

New Mexico

Applicable Laws: New Mexico Statute § 50-4-4§ 50-4-5

State Website: New Mexico Department of WorkForce Solutions

New Mexico law requires payment of all fixed wages, like hourly wages or a salary, within five days of an employee’s separation. However, wages such as commissions must be paid within 10 days of the employee’s separation from employment.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, New Mexico does not permit employers to withhold any wages unless authorized by law or by the employee, for benefits like insurance.

If an employer is withholding a final paycheck, employees can file a wage claim with the Department of Workforce Solutions. Another option is to file a lawsuit in civil court. Typically, this is done by hiring an employment law attorney who has experience guiding workers through the process.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

New Mexico does not outright require employers to include unused paid leave or other benefits in a final paycheck, unless it is expressly in the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract.

New York

Applicable Laws: New York Labor Law § 191

State Website: New York Department of Labor

Whether an employee is fired or quits, New York law requires the employer to issue the final paycheck by the regular payday for that pay period. This may be done by direct deposit or by mail, at the preference of the employee.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, New York does not permit employers to withhold paychecks or a portion of the paycheck from their employees, including tips. This means an employer cannot charge withhold wages for any shortages or other losses. Any deductions made from wages must be authorized by law or by the employee.

If an employer refuses to issue a final paycheck, employees may file a wages claim with the Division of Labor Standards, where they will investigate and try to resolve the issue. Another option is to file a lawsuit with the help of an experienced employment law attorney.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

New York law relies on the employer’s policy or the employment contract to determine whether these benefits should be included in the final paycheck. If an employer’s policy or a contract expressly says an employee is entitled to this payout, and there is no written statement that nullifies this prior agreement, then New York requires accrued benefits to be paid out upon separation.

However, if it is not stated in the policy or contract, or if it was but the employer provides written notice that this payout is no longer offered, then New York will not enforce this benefit to be included in the final paycheck.

North Carolina

Applicable Laws: North Carolina General Statute § 95.25.7

State Website: North Carolina Department of Labor

North Carolina requires employers to issue a final paycheck to an employee before the next regularly scheduled payday, whether the employee was terminated or quit. For any commissions or bonuses that require additional time to calculate, an employer has until the first regular payday where the amount becomes calculable to send payment to their former employee.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, North Carolina requires employers to pay all wages due to the employee in the final paycheck. Employers may only withhold a portion of a paycheck if expressly authorized by law or by the employee themself.

Additionally, employers may not withhold a final paycheck if an employee refuses to come to the place of employment to pick up the paycheck. However, if an employee requests the check to be sent by mail, the employer may require the employee to provide a notarized or written request with a witness.

One option available to recover a withheld final paycheck is filing a complaint with the Wage and Hour Bureau. Another option is to pursue a lawsuit with the help of an employment law attorney.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

North Carolina requires employers to pay any earned vacation time in the final paycheck unless there is a written forfeiture clause. However, sick leave is not included in the final paycheck unless the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract specifically states the employee is entitled to this benefit.

North Dakota

Applicable Laws: North Dakota Century Code § 34-14-03

State Website: North Dakota Department of Labor & Human Rights

North Dakota requires employers to issue an employee’s final paycheck by the next regularly scheduled payday, regardless of how the employee was separated from employment.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, North Dakota does not permit an employer to withhold a final paycheck at all. Any withholdings or deductions must be authorized by law or by written authorization by the employee.

If your employer is withholding your final paycheck, the options for pursuing it depend on the amount of wages owed. For a paycheck less than $125, the matter can be addressed in small claims court. For paychecks valued between $125 and $15,000, employees can file a Wages Claim with the North Dakota Department of Labor.

For paychecks valued over $15,000, the claim must be addressed in district court.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Typically, North Dakota treats any earned vacation time as a wage that must be included in the employee’s final paycheck. However, there are some situations when an employee quits where an employer may not be required to include this value in a paycheck, such as:

  • The employer provided prior written notice of any limitation or forfeiture of these benefits
  • The employee has been employed less than one year
  • The employee provided less than five days notice

Ohio

Applicable Laws: Ohio Revised Code § 4113.15

State Website: Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Industrial Compliance

Ohio requires the final paycheck to be issued on the first day of the month for wages that were earned in the first half of the prior month, or on the 15th day of the month for wages earned in the second half of the prior month.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

An Ohio employer cannot outright withhold final paychecks. However, Ohio permits employers to withhold wages if authorized by law or for uniforms, drug testing, or other tools. The amount deducted cannot make an employee’s wages fall below minimum wage.

The Division of Industrial Compliance’s Bureau of Wage & Hour Administration can employees recover the minimum wages owed for up to two years after they were owed payment.

However, any other amount above the minimum wage must be sought independently, either by filing a claim in small claims court or by working with an attorney to file a lawsuit.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Ohio does not require employers to guarantee the benefits like payment of unused vacation time to employees at the time of termination. However, if payment of these benefits is expressly in the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract, then employees should consider a lawsuit in small claims court or civil court to recover the value of the accrued benefits.

Oklahoma

Applicable Laws: Oklahoma State tit. 40 § 165.3

State Website: Oklahoma Department of Labor

In Oklahoma, employers are required to issue a final paycheck to an employee by the next regularly scheduled payday, whether an employee was terminated or quit. Final paychecks can be sent by the normal means, like direct deposit or by certified mail postmarked by the next scheduled payday.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, Oklahoma does not permit employers to withhold final paychecks from employees. However, employers may deduct a portion if it is authorized by law, such as paying taxes, or if the employee gives written authorization for benefits like insurance. Oklahoma refers to genuine disagreements over wages as “bona fide disagreements.”

If an employer is withholding a final paycheck, then employees may file a wage claim with the Oklahoma Department of Labor. Another option is to pursue unpaid wages in court with the help of an employment law attorney. Employers found liable may have to pay additional damages and repay attorney fees.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Oklahoma does not require employers to include payment of unused leave or other fringe benefits as part of the final paycheck. However, the employee may be required to include the value of any accrued, unused vacation leave if it is an established policy of the company or it is required by the employee’s contract.

Oregon

Applicable Laws: Oregon Revised Statute § 652.140

State Website: Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries

Oregon has a strict set of requirements about when a final paycheck must be issued according to how the employee was separated from the employer:

  • Quitting with under 48 hours notice: Within five business days or the next regular payday, whichever comes first
  • Quitting with at least 48 hours notice: On the last day of employment or the next business day
  • Being fired or laid off: By the end of the next business day
  • Employee and employer agreeing to the termination: By the end of the next business day
  • Employment is related to state or county fairs: By the end of the second business day after the termination

However, any commissions may be paid when the employer knows the amount due to the employee in a separate payment after the final paycheck is sent.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, Oregon does not permit employers to withhold final paychecks. Deductions from paychecks may only occur if authorized by law, like for payment of taxes, or if the employee gives written authorization for a benefit like insurance.

If an employer is withholding a final paycheck, the course of action for recovering it is determined by the value of the wages. Amounts under $10,000 will go through small claims court in the county where the employer is located. Paychecks valued over $10,000 will require a lawsuit in civil court.

Oregon law imposes a civil penalty for employers who willfully withhold final paychecks from their employees. They may also have to pay court costs, interest, and the employee’s attorney fees. Employees may be eligible to recover as much as eight times their regular pay rate for each day a final paycheck goes unpaid for up to 30 days.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

While Oregon does not require employers to include the value of these benefits in the final paycheck, the employer is required to honor the employer’s established policy or the employee’s contract.

Pennsylvania

Applicable Laws: Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 260.5

State Website: Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry

Pennsylvania requires employers to issue final paychecks to employees by the next scheduled payday when an employee quits, is fired, or is laid off.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Pennsylvania does not permit employers to outright withhold final paychecks from employees. Deductions from the paycheck may be made if expressly authorized by law or by written agreement between the employee and employer. However, the deductions may not fall below minimum wage.

Former employees have up to two years to bring a claim for unpaid wages. Employees can file a claim with the Department of Labor & Industry or hire an employment law attorney to help resolve the matter in court.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

There is no Pennsylvania law requiring this payout, so it depends on the employer’s established policy or the terms of an employee’s contract.

Rhode Island

Applicable Laws: Rhode Island General Law § 28-14-4

State Website: Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training

Rhode Island requires employers to issue final paychecks by the next regular payday whether the employee quit or was fired. Final paychecks are payable at the usual way of payment, such as direct deposit or picking up a check.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, Rhode Island does not permit employers to withhold final paychecks from employees. Any deductions must be authorized by law or by the employee in writing, and may not fall below minimum wage.

When an employer refuses to issue a final paycheck, the employee may file a claim with the Labor Standards Unit of the Department of Labor and Training. Another option is to work with an attorney to pursue wages in court.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Rhode Island looks to the employer’s established policy or the employee’s contract to determine whether the value of any unpaid leave or benefits are due with the final paycheck. If it is written into the policy or contract, or if the employer verbally agrees, the value of any earned benefits are due with the regular wages in the final paycheck.

South Carolina

Applicable Laws: South Carolina Codified Law § 41-10-50

State Website: South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations

South Carolina law requires employers to pay employees all wages due within 48 hours of the day of separation or by the next regularly scheduled payday, but the payment must be issued within 30 days. This rule applies to both employees who quit and employees who were fired.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, an employer cannot withhold all or part of a final paycheck unless authorized by law or by the employee in writing for a benefit like insurance.

The Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation conducts investigations into withheld paychecks, and if it determines a violation exists, it will pursue an informal mediation or conciliation to resolve the wage dispute.

If an employer still refuses to pay, it may take a lawsuit with the help of an employment law attorney to resolve this legal matter. An employer could be forced to pay up to three times the wages owed, plus costs and attorney fees.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

South Carolina law does not require employers to include the value of unused vacation pay or other benefits in final paychecks. However, the law does enforce established employer policies or contract agreements that entitle an employee to the payout of any accrued vacation, holiday, and sick leave.

South Dakota

Applicable Laws: South Dakota Codified Law § 60-11-10§ 60-11-14

State Website: South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation

Typically, South Dakota employees must receive their final paycheck on the next regularly scheduled payday after they resign or are fired. However, this date may be pushed back if the employee is still in possession of their employer’s property.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

South Dakota is unique in that an employer may withhold a final paycheck until an employee returns any property belonging to their employer, such as a computer. The only other paycheck deductions South Dakota permits must be authorized by the employee in writing for a benefit such as insurance. However, South Dakota requires all employees to receive at least minimum wage in their paycheck.

The Department of Labor and Regulation does assist public employees with wages claims, or affected employees can pursue legal action with the help of an employment law attorney.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

South Dakota has no law specifying whether unused leave or other benefits must be paid in the final paycheck. Instead, the policy previously established by an employer or employee contract determines eligibility to receive payment for any accrued paid leave.

Tennessee

Applicable Laws: Tennessee Code § 50-2-103

State Website: Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Tennessee law requires employers to issue final paychecks no later than the next regularly scheduled payday or 21 days after they separate from employment. This rule applies to both employees who quit and employees who are fired.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, an employer cannot withhold a final paycheck from their employees, even partially. Any deductions from a paycheck must be either authorized by law, like for taxes, or by a written authorization from the employee for a benefit like insurance.

If an employer withholds a final paycheck, employees can file claims with the Workforce Regulations and Compliance division of the Tennessee Department of Labor. Employers found liable for legally withholding a paycheck in a lawsuit may owe additional damages to the employee as well.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Tennessee does not require employers to include fringe benefits like unused paid leave in the final paycheck unless it is established in the employer’s policy or the employee’s contract.

Texas

Applicable Laws: Texas Code, Labor § 61.014

State Website: Texas Workforce Commission

Texas law states that if an employee quits, the employer must issue a final paycheck the next regular payday. If the employee is fired, the employer must issue the final paycheck within six days.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, employers may not withhold final paychecks from their employees. The only deductions Texas law allows are deductions authorized by law or by written authorization from the employee.

Under the Texas Payday Law, the Texas Workforce Commission investigates claims of illegally withheld paychecks and will issue a Preliminary Wage Determination Order. If TWC determines that an employer owes any wages, then the employer pays the amount to the TWC, which then pays the worker.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Texas law does not require employers to offer fringe benefits like vacation leave or other benefits, so there is no law requiring employers to pay out these benefits in a final paycheck. However, if there is a written agreement to pay the value of any accrued paid leave in the employer policy or employee contract, Texas law will enforce these provisions.

Utah

Applicable Laws: Utah Code § 34-28-5

State Website: Utah Labor Commission

Utah law requires employers to issue a final paycheck within 24 hours if the employee is fired or laid off. However, employers have until the next scheduled payday to issue a final paycheck to employees who quit or resign.

Final paychecks may be issued by the regular means of payment like direct deposit or handing it to the employee in person. If the employee requests the final paycheck to be mailed, then the wages must be sent and postmarked with a day that is no longer than the amount of time prescribed by the type of separation.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

If an employer withholds a final paycheck, the employee may file a wage claim with the Utah Labor Commission. The employer is required to submit a response to the wage claim within 10 business days.

The Commission will investigate the claim, which will then proceed to either mediation or a hearing. If the employer receives an order for payment and still refuses to pay, then the order will be filed in state court, and legal action will commence.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Utah does not require employers to include unused paid leave or other benefits in the final paycheck with the wages. However, if the employer has an established policy or there is a clause in the employee’s contract, the employer is expected to include the value of these benefits with the final paycheck.

Vermont

Applicable Laws: Vermont Statute tit. 21 § 342

State Website: Vermont Department of Labor

In Vermont, employers are required to issue a final paycheck within 72 hours from the time an employee is fired. If the employee quits voluntarily, then the final paycheck is due on the next regularly scheduled payday or the following Friday if there is no payday scheduled.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, an employer may not withhold a final paycheck. Vermont only allows deductions from a paycheck that are authorized by law, by written authorization by the employee, or any employer-provided meals or lodging. Any deductions made may not fall below the minimum wage.

Employees seeking a withheld final paycheck can file a wage claim form with the Vermont Department of Labor up to two years after the wages were due. Employees may also privately pursue this matter by hiring an employment law attorney to file a lawsuit.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Vermont law does not require employers to pay employees unused paid leave or other benefits in the final paycheck. However, if the employer has an established policy or there is a clause in the employee’s contract, the employer is expected to include the value of these benefits with the final paycheck.

Virginia

Applicable Laws: Virginia Code § 40.1-29

State Website: Virginia Department of Labor and Industry

Virginia law requires employers to issue a final paycheck by the next regularly scheduled pay date, whether the employee was fired or quit. The payment should be made in the normal form that the employee’s wages typically are made.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Unless authorized by law or written consent of the employee, Virginia law prohibits employers from withholding a final paycheck. If any lawful deductions are made, the amount withheld cannot fall below the minimum wage.

Virginia takes unlawful withholding of wages very seriously, as it may be a Class 1 misdemeanor if the amount is less than $10,000 or a Class 6 felony if the amount owed is over $10,000.

When an employer withholds a paycheck, the former employee should file a written complaint with the commissioner’s office of the Department of Labor and Industry if the amount is under $15,000. The commissioner’s office investigates the claim and may pursue proceedings to recover any unpaid wages. In addition to any unpaid wages, the commissioner’s office may also pursue a judgment against the employer to reimburse the employee with another one-third of the amount owed along with any attorney fees.

If the amount owed is over $15,000, then the matter will likely require the assistance of an employment law attorney.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Virginia does not require employers to include unused paid leave in the final paycheck. However, if the employer has an established policy or there is a clause in the employee’s contract, the employer is expected to include the value of these benefits with the final paycheck.

Washington

Applicable Laws: Washington Revised Code § 49.48.010

State Website: Washington Department of Labor and Industries

When an employee quits or is fired, Washington law requires that the employer issue their final paycheck on or before the next regularly scheduled pay period.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Washington does not permit an employer to withhold a final paycheck outright, however, there may be situations where the employer may deduct a portion. Any deductions made must be authorized by law or by written authorization of the employee, and the amount deducted may not fall below the minimum wage.

Employees who do not receive all wages due for work performed within their final paycheck may file a Workplace Rights Complaint. Another option is pursuing wages independently in local small claims court or by filing a lawsuit.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Since vacation time and other benefits are voluntary benefits under Washington law, it is up to the employer to decide whether to pay out these benefits. However, if there is an established policy or a contract explicitly states this payout will occur, then Washington law dictates that the value of any accrued benefits should be included in the final paycheck. Sick time is treated similarly.

West Virginia

Applicable Laws: West Virginia Code § 21-5-4

State Website: West Virginia Division of Labor

West Virginia law requires all wages due to the employee to be paid by the next regularly scheduled payday. This rule applies to both employees who quit and employees who are fired.

Commissions are treated a bit differently. Typically, employers set their own terms on when commissions are paid. However, when an employee separates, the commission is due to the employee as soon as the commission is determined as payable.

Final wages are to be paid according to the employer’s regular pay practices unless the employee requests the wages be mailed. In that case, the final paycheck is considered paid on the date the mailed paycheck is postmarked.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, West Virginia does not permit employers to withhold final paychecks, even if the employee still has company property. The employer must pursue unreturned property or money for any damages from the employee through a magistrate or a circuit court.

However, there are some deductions that are permissible under West Virginia law as long as the amount does not go below minimum wage. The only portion of a paycheck that an employer may deduct must be authorized by law or by the written consent of the employee.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

West Virginia law refers to benefits like paid leave as a fringe benefit to be included in the employee’s final paycheck. However, if the employer has an established policy or a clause in the employment agreement stating this is not a benefit provided, then the employee will not receive this payout with their final paycheck.

Wisconsin

Applicable Laws: Wisconsin Statute § 109.03

State Website: Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Wisconsin requires employers to give employees their final paycheck by the next regularly scheduled payday, regardless of why they are separating from employment.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

No, an employer may not withhold a final paycheck under Wisconsin law. Wisconsin only allows an employer to deduct a portion of an employee’s pay if authorized by the employee or by law.

If an employer is withholding a final paycheck, the employee must contact the employer to request payment before pursuing any legal action. There is a two-year statute of limitations for wage claims.

If an employer still refuses to provide a final paycheck after six days, a former employee may file a Labor Standards Complaint with the Equal Rights Division of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. This form may be completed online, by email, or in person in the Madison or Milwaukee offices. However, union members must file their wage claims with their local union representative.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Wisconsin allows employers to determine whether payouts for unused leave or other benefits are to be included in the final paycheck, as these are considered voluntary fringe benefits. So if an employer has a written policy, or an employment contract expressly states this payout will be provided, then they must issue it. Employers, however, are able to issue written policies opting out of this payout.

Wyoming

Applicable Laws: Wyoming Statute § 27-4-104(a)

State Website: Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

Wyoming law requires that employers must provide employees with a final paycheck by the next regularly scheduled payday in accordance with the usual pay practices. This rule applies whether the employee was fired or quit.

Can an Employer Withhold a Final Paycheck?

Employers may not outright withhold a final paycheck under Wyoming law. However, an employer may deduct a portion of an employee’s paycheck under certain circumstances.

Wyoming allows employers to deduct portions for cash register shortages, failure to repay advances for paid leave, lost property or damage, or when authorized by law or the employee’s written consent.

If an employer withholds a final paycheck, employees can file a claim for wages online with the Labor Standards office in the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.

Does an Employer Have to Pay Out for Unused Vacation in a Final Paycheck?

Wyoming law does not consider unused paid leave or other fringe benefits as wages to be included in the final paycheck. Instead, the law relies on the written policy of the employer or the employee’s contract to determine whether any accrued vacation is to be paid out or if it is forfeited upon separation from employment.

Get Help from an Experienced Employment Law Attorney

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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