Where is my final paycheck?

DSC_0088_easyHDR_batch-dramatic-strongYou are somehow separated from your employment. Maybe you were terminated. Maybe you quit. Either way, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting your final paycheck.

An employer cannot keep a final paycheck from you (the employee), or a group of employees, a labor organization, or any party to which wages are owed. You should expect to receive it on the next scheduled payday. Pennsylvania’s Wage Payment and Collection Law (“Law”) states:

“Whenever an employer separates an employe[e] from the payroll, or when- ever an employe[e] quits or resigns his employment, the wages or compensation earned shall become due and payable not later than the next regular payday of his employer on which such wages would otherwise be due and payable. If requested by the employe[e], such payment shall be made by certified mail.”

To Recover Your Final Paycheck

You may take legal action. An employment attorney can help you during this process, which could include the following:

  • You contact the Department of Labor and Industry to file a bona fide claim;
  • If the Department sees fit, it will contact your employer (via certified mail) requesting that you be paid;
  • Next, your employer is required to either (a) give you your final paycheck or (b) explain why the non-payment is justified;
  • Payment, or a satisfactory explanation of non-payment, is due within 10 days of the employer receiving the notice

You may wonder what a “satisfactory explanation” could be. The Law brings up the issue of industrial disputes, for an example. If the employer is unable to prepare the payroll due to an industrial dispute, or for any other reason out of his or her control, he or she will not be deemed “in violation.”

Additional Remedies

You may also be able to collect liquidated damages if certain criteria are met. 30 days after the scheduled payday, or within 60 days beyond filing of proper claim, you become entitled to claim 25% of your unpaid wages or $500, whichever is greater. In addition to receiving the unpaid wages and liquidated damages, the Court may allow reasonable costs for attorneys’ fees to be paid by the defendant.

You deserve to be paid for the work you’ve done and getting your final paycheck shouldn’t be a hassle. If you find yourself in this situation, you should consult an employment attorney. Keep in mind, employers who violate provisions of the Law can be found guilty of a summary offense. Knowing this can help you further hold your employer accountable for his or her wrongdoings. An employment attorney will help you determine which course of action to take.