You work hard for your company, and you trust that your employer will compensate you fairly for your contributions. But when payday comes and goes without proper compensation, your loyalty is wavering. What can you do to make sure you receive your paychecks on time—and could you collect more money because you were forced to wait?
What to Do If Your Employer’s Paycheck Bounces
Just as there are rules concerning final paychecks for terminated employees, there are laws to ensure that workers receive their regular paychecks on time. By federal law, your employer is required to have enough credit or money in the bank to cover all employee paychecks for 30 days after the date of issue. If an employer's check bounces, employers are required to pay all owed wages immediately.
Here are a few ways to collect fair payment for a bounced paycheck:
Send a Reminder in Writing:
It is a good idea to begin by asking your employer for payment and notifying him or her of the amount of wages you are owed. Keep a copy of the note that you send, as well as any responses.
File a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE):
Federal law allows employees to collect a penalty of an extra day of wages for every day your paycheck is late. This penalty begins on the day you attempt to cash the check and continues for 30 days or until your employer provides payment (whichever is shorter). You must contact your DLSE office to collect this penalty from your employer.
File a Civil Claim:
If you take legal action against your employer, you may be able to collect additional civil penalties. This option is available to those who have been denied payment as a result of discrimination or who are regularly denied timely compensation.
Pursue Criminal Charges:
If your employer does not have enough money to pay your wages, your company can be charged with a misdemeanor offense. In addition, if your employer asked you to sign an agreement renouncing your right to legal action related to your unpaid wages, you can pursue a criminal case. These cases open employers up to even more fines and penalties.