By: Katherine Muniz Jul 20, 2017

How Soon Do You Have to Pay an Employee Their Last Paycheck?

The window of time an employer has to deliver a former employee’s last paycheck is contingent on their state’s laws. Some states have final paycheck laws, while others do not. Some states appoint different time frames depending on whether the employee has quit voluntarily, or was fired. 

While no federal law requires employers to give former employees their last paycheck immediately, the Department of Labor (DOL) urges employees to contact the Wage and Hour Division or state labor department if the regular payday for their last working pay period has passed and the employee has not been paid.   

The following is a list of each state’s laws regulating when an employee’s last paycheck must be paid using data sourced from an article originally published by FindLaw and fact checked by Fingercheck: 

State Employee was Fired Employee Quits
Alabama No law. No law.
Alaska (Alaska Stat. § 23.05.140) Last check must be given within three working days.  Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday that is at least three days after the employer received notice of the employee’s termination of services.
Arizona (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23-353) Last check must be given within seven working days, or on the next scheduled payday, whichever occurs first. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
Arkansas (Arkansas Code § 11-4-405) Last check must be given within seven days. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
California (Cal. Lab. Code §§ 201, 202, and 227.3) Last check must be given immediately. Last check must be given within 72 hours. However, if the employee has given more than 72 hours’ notice, last check must be given immediately.
Colorado (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-4-109) Last check must be given immediately. “Immediately” means within 6 hours of the start of the next working day if the payroll unit is closed when termination occurs, or within 24 hours if the payroll unit is offsite. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
Connecticut (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 31-71c)

Last check must be given on the next business day.

 

Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
Delaware (Del. Code Ann. tit. 19, § 1103) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
District of Columbia (D.C. Code § 32-1303) Last check must be given on the next business day. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday, or within seven days, whichever occurs first.
Florida No law. No law.
Georgia No law. No law.
Hawaii (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 388-3) Last check must be given immediately, or on the next business day if there are conditions that prevent immediate payment. Lastcheck must be given on the next scheduled payday. However, if the employee gave at least one pay period’s notice, last check must be given immediately.
Idaho ( Idaho Code §§ 45-606, 45-617) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday (excluding weekends and holidays), or within 10 days, whichever occurs first. However, if employee makes a written request for earlier payment, within 48 hours of receiving the request (excluding weekends and holidays). Same applies.
Illinois (820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 115/5) If possible, the last check should be paid in full at the time of separation; otherwise it must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies. 
Indiana (Ind. Code §§ 22-2-9-2 and 22-2-5-1) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. If the employee has not given a forwarding address, the employer must wait until 10 days after the employee demands wages or provides an address where the final check can be mailed.
Iowa (Iowa Code Ann. § 91A.4.)) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
Kansas (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 44-315) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
Kentucky (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 337.055) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or within 14 days, whichever occurs later. Same applies.
Louisiana (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23:631) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday, or within 15 days, whichever occurs earlier. Same applies.
Maine (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 26, § 626) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or within two weeks after a demand from the employee, whichever is earlier. Same applies.
Maryland (Md. Lab. & Emp. Code Ann. § 3-505) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
Massachusetts (Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 149 § 148) Last check must be given immediately. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or on the Saturday that follows an employee’s resignation if there is no scheduled payday.
Michigan (Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 408.474, 408.475) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
Minnesota (Minn. Stat. §§ 181.13, 181.14) Last check must be given immediately. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. However, if the payday is less than five days after the last day that the employee works, the employer must pay on the next payday or 20 days after the employee’s last day of work, whichever is earlier.
Mississippi No law. No law.
Missouri (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 290.110) Last paycheck must be given immediately. No law.
Montana (Mont. Code Ann. § 39-3-205) If employee is laid off or fired for cause, last paycheck must be given immediately. The employer has the option of maintaining a written policy that extends this time to the next scheduled payday or within 15 days, whichever is earlier. Last paycheck must be given on the next scheduled payday or within 15 days, whichever is earlier.
Nebraska (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-1230) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or within two weeks, whichever occurs first. Same applies.
Nevada (Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 608.020 — 608.030) Last check must be given immediately. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or within seven days, whichever occurs first.
New Hampshire (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 275:44) Last check must be given within 72 hours. However, if employee is laid off, the employer may wait until the next scheduled payday. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or within 72 hours (if the employee gave at least one pay period’s notice).
New Jersey (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 34:11-4.3) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
New Mexico (N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 50-4-4 and 50-4-5) Last check must be given within five days. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
New York (N.Y. Labor Laws § 191) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
North Carolina (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95.25.7) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
North Dakota (N.D. Cent. Code § 34-14-03) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
Ohio (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 4113.15) No law.

Ohio’s statute (Ohio Revised Code §4113.15(A)) can be interpreted as requiring employers that pay employees on a semi-monthly basis to make full payment for wages earned on the first and fifteenth each month. Unfortunately, there is no direct statute requiring an employer to immediately pay an employee in full upon being terminated (Mowery Youell & Galeano Ltd. provide more information on this topic).

 

Oklahoma (Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 40, § 165.3) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
Oregon (Or. Rev. Stat. § 652.140) Last check must be given by the end of the next business day. Last check must be given immediately if the employee has given at least 48 hours’ notice. If employee does not give notice, last check must be given within five days or the next scheduled payday, whichever occurs first.
Pennsylvania (43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 260.5) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
Rhode Island (R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-14-4) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. However, if the separation is due as a result of the employer liquidating the business, merging the business, disposing the business, or removing the business out of state, all wages become immediately due and payable within twenty four hours of the time of separate at the usual place of payment.   Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
South Carolina (S.C. Codified Laws § 41-10-50) Last check must be given within 48 hours or on the next scheduled payday, but not more than 30 days. No law.
South Dakota (S.D. Codified Laws §§ 60-11-10, 60-11-14) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or when the employee returns the employer’s property. Same applies.
Tennessee (Tenn. Code. Ann. § 50-2-103) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or within 21 days, whichever is later. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or within 21 days, whichever is later.
Texas (Texas Code Ann., Labor § 61.014) Last check must be given within six days. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
Utah (Utah Code Ann. § 34-28-5) Last check must be given within 24 hours. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
Vermont (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21 § 342) Last check must be given within 72 hours. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday, or on the next Friday if there is no scheduled paydays.
Virginia (Va. Code § 40.1-29) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
Washington (Wash. Rev. Code § 49.48.010) Last check must be given at the end of the next pay period. Same applies.
West Virginia (W. Va. Code § 21-5-4) Last check must be given on or before the next scheduled payday. Same applies.
Wisconsin (Wis. Stat. Ann. § 109.03) Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday or within one month, whichever occurs first. If the termination is a result of a merger, relocation or liquidation of the business, last check must be given within 24 hours. Last check must be given on the next scheduled payday.
Wyoming (Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-4-104) Last check must be given within five business days. Same applies.

Risk for Penalties

The penalties for violating the law vary depending on your state’s jurisdiction. To give an example, Corey Day, a California-based attorney at Murphy Campbell Alliston & Quinn, explains the consequences for violations that occur in California:

“Under Labor Code section 203, for each day the employer fails to pay the final wages due to an employee, the employer will owe a full days’ worth of wages as a penalty on top of the pay already owed. This penalty maxes out at 30 calendar days (including weekends and holidays.) Further, if an employee has to file a lawsuit to collect these wages and succeeds, they are entitled to recoup their legal fees from the employer. These legal fees will often be far greater than the original wages owed.”

Federal Intervention

If you fail to provide your employee their last check, federal intervention is possible, despite the fact that there is no federal statute on the topic. According to Attorney Eric D. Anderson of Eric D. Anderson Law, Ltd., who practices law in California:

“The rules regarding payment are governed on a stateby-state basis. However, if an employee was not paid in a timely fashion, this could lead to a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a Federal law. For employers, this is dangerous ground because there are a number of Federal remedies for wage violations. This includes:

  1. A Federal lawsuit brought by the Department of Labor for back wages and interest.
  2. Civil money penalties can be assessed for repeat and willful offenders 
  3. Willful violators may face criminal penalties as well.” 

Based on the high risk associated with failing to comply with your state’s last paycheck laws, it pays to familiarize yourself with the applicable rules. The contents of this summary briefly overviews the laws governing payment of final wages on a state-by-state basis. If you’re in need of legal counsel, contact a knowledgeable professional who can advise you further. 

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Category: Compliance | Payroll

Katherine is a New York-based digital writer who joined Fingercheck in 2015. She promotes Fingercheck through the power of the written word. She graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies with a focus on Journalism. Connect with her on LinkedIn

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