Learn About the Biggest Paycheck Rules Your Employer May Violate Regularly
Your paycheck is how you pay your bills, save money, and enjoy life. When your employer plays fast and loose with your paycheck, you suffer. Even people that love their job do not work for free.
So, when your employer decides to unfairly tamper with your paycheck or even keep your paycheck from you, you have the right to fight back. Learn more about your rights regarding payroll, so you know when your company is breaking the law.
1. Your Boss Must Pay You as Promised
The first two things you ask when you start a job are (1) “What is my hourly wage (or salary)?” and (2) “When do we get paid?”
Your employer is supposed to maintain a set pay schedule. You may get paid every week, every two weeks, twice a month, or once a month. No matter what the payment schedule is, you can expect to get paid as promised. If something changes within the company, you must receive notice that your payment schedule may change.
When your boss stops issuing you paychecks as promised, they violate your rights under wage and hour laws. You have a right to receive your paycheck promptly and as promised. Withholding your paycheck, even for a day, is a violation of your rights.
2. Your Boss Must Provide You with Your Last Paycheck in a Timely Manner
Whether you quit your job or get fired, you must receive your last paycheck. Your employer cannot refuse to give it to you. Furthermore, they cannot hold it indefinitely or until you return any equipment or items owned by the company.
Under federal law, when an employee quits their job or gets fired from work, they must receive their final paycheck when payroll is normally paid. However, some state laws have other stipulations regarding your final paycheck. In some states, if you are fired from work, you must receive your final paycheck immediately upon termination. However, employees that quit their jobs do not need to get their final paycheck until the normal payday for the firm.
3. Your Employer Cannot Withhold Money from Your Paycheck Without Permission.
Wage garnishments are either court-ordered or approved by employees. You may have your wages garnished for child support, alimony, restitution (for criminal actions), health insurance payments, life, and disability insurance premiums, medical disbursement accounts, and other voluntary employee payments.
However, your boss cannot choose to withhold money from your paycheck for punishment against you for your job performance or inventory theft that occurred on your shift (unless they have a court order to garnish your wages for related restitution).
Your expected pay rate cannot become the subject of any unauthorized or illegal wage garnishments from your employer. Doing so may be considered wage theft. Furthermore, your boss cannot fire you from work because you have legal garnishments from your paycheck.
4. Your Employer Must Pay You At least Minimum Wage, Always.
Tipped employees are still entitled to the standard minimum wage for the state in which they work. The tip rule applies to all tipped employees’ overall wages. The tip rule states that tips plus tipped employees’ minimum wage must equal the state’s minimum wage. Otherwise, the employer must pay the tipped employee the additional income to bring their total salary to the state’s minimum wage for the week.
Your employer cannot combine two weeks’ worth of tips to equal an average of minimum wage for the week. They cannot skip paying you additional money for the week that you did not make minimum wage for the week. They must make sure your pay every week (regardless of your pay schedule) equals your state’s minimum wage.
5. Overtime Must Get Calculated Every Week, Not Every Pay Period
Employees working over forty hours in a week must get paid proper overtime as outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA says that employees will get paid 1.5 times their hourly rate for any time worked over 40 hours in a week.
Many employers will try to average your hours worked within a pay period. If you average 40 hours per week, even if you worked over 40 hours in any given week, they will pay you straight pay with no overtime.
This practice is illegal. They must pay you overtime based on the hours you worked in a week. Overtime is not calculated over a pay period. Therefore, if you are paid every two weeks, you can receive overtime if you worked over 40 hours one week and under 40 hours the second week in the pay period.
6. Your Employer Must Pay You Any Back Pay They Owe You
In some instances, employees successfully fight their employers over owed income without quitting their job or getting fired from work. In these cases, the courts, a mediator, or the department of labor may order an employer to provide back pay to their employees.
Back pay is the money the employer should have paid their employee and didn’t. It may include making up the difference between pay and minimum wage, unpaid overtime, or pay for mandated work done off-the-clock. No matter the reason your employer owes you back pay, they must pay it. There are no exceptions.
7. Your Employer Cannot Pay You Without Deducting Taxes.
Your employer must pay you appropriately while deducting taxes from your pay. He cannot pay you under the table. Employers will often pay you cash under the table so they can get away with paying you less than minimum wage. They also try to avoid reporting their share of employment taxes.
These actions can hurt you. They can eliminate your right to worker’s compensation, social security, temporary disability coverage, and other state benefits deducted through taxes. There is more to lose when your employer pays you under the table than saving tax dollars.
8. You Are Entitled to Short Breaks Throughout the Day (Without Docking Your Pay)
Your employer cannot make you clock out for breaks that last less than 20 minutes. These breaks are known as coffee breaks. They allow you time to get coffee, grab your lunch, run to the bathroom, and simply step away from your job for a brief minute. You cannot take these breaks excessively.
However, your employer cannot dock your pay for these breaks.
Any break over 20 minutes can be considered an unpaid break. Employers can make you clock out for breaks longer than 20 minutes.
What Can You Do If Your Boss Breaks These Payroll rules?
You have a right to get paid for the time you worked. You have a right to receive your paycheck as promised. If employer does not pay your company denies you these rights, you have the right to seek justice.
First, confront your employer. They may be unaware there was an issue with your payroll. Accidents happen.
However, if your employer does not fix the problem immediately, consult a qualified wage and hour lawyer. They can help you file a complaint with the department of labor to ensure you get all the compensation you deserve.
Have Questions? Our Wage and Hour Lawyers Are Here to Help. Free Consultation (800) 807-2209
Do not allow your employer to take money out of your pocket or withhold pay you rightfully earned. If your boss did not pay you properly or violated payroll laws, contact the wage and hour lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Miami, and Los Angeles for a free consultation.