If you've ever had the bad luck of checking your bank account on payday only to find you haven't been paid yet, you know just how frustrating a delayed paycheck can be. Luckily, the law is on your side. Most states operate similarly when it comes to paycheck laws, and all states (except Alabama and South Carolina) mandate weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly payments. That means if your employer misses a paycheck, they can be held accountable by law. If you want to know the exact payday laws in your specific state, you can check this list.
But before you worry about getting the law involved, first contact your employer about the lost paycheck. It's best to do this in person as well as in writing, in case you later need to use the email or letter as evidence. If they assure you your paycheck is in the mail, remind them that they are obligated to have your check in your hand by the designated payday, not just in the mail. Hopefully, the check will arrive soon, but if late paychecks continue to be a problem with your employer, you may have grounds for legal action.
But what if the check never comes at all? According to FindLaw, the steps to take in the case of an absent paycheck are as follows:
- Contact your employer (preferably in writing) and ask for the wages owed to you
- If your employer refuses to do so, consider filing a claim with your state's labor agency.
- File a suit in small claims court or superior court for the amount owed
- For larger cases involving a late paycheck or payday laws in general, consider hiring a labor attorney to help you.
The most important thing to remember in the case of a late or undelivered paycheck is that getting paid for the work you do is your right. There's no need to feel uncomfortable confronting your employer about issues of wages, and you shouldn't hesitate to consult a lawyer if you feel you're being taken advantage of by your employer in any way.