How late can an employer pay you? If you have been working for a particular employer for a fair length of time, you probably have a pretty good idea about when you should receive your wages. But, if your employer is extremely late in paying your wages, you are probably wondering how long you should wait until you are entitled to take action.
This is an issue that workers face frequently and a question that you should be asking. Fortunately, your employer cannot choose to pay you whenever it feels like it. This is because there are state laws that govern how and when your employer must pay you for the wages you have earned.
Most states have payday laws that specify how frequently an employee must be paid. These laws vary somewhat from state to state, but generally require employees to be paid as soon as possible after the most recent pay period ends or on the date specified in their contract of employment.
In Tennessee, any wages earned by an employee prior to the 16th day of the month are due and payable by the 5th day of the next month, and all wages earned by an employee must be paid by the 20th of the following month. However, your employer may choose to pay you more frequently than that.
Most other states require employees to be paid on either a weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, or monthly basis. Some states also provide exceptions for employers in certain industries or that otherwise qualify as exempt from these requirements.
So, What Should You Do If Your Employer Is Late Paying You?
Generally speaking, if your pay is only a few days late and it doesn’t happen so often, it’s probably not worth your time and effort to take action. However, if your pay is continually late, or so late that you are not sure if you will be able to pay your bills, and you don’t know if and when it will finally come, then you should seek legal counsel.
You may be entitled to file a claim against your employer with the state labor agency to recover your unpaid wages. You can also file a civil lawsuit against your employer for the amount owed. Either way, you may also be able to recover liquidated damages and your legal costs, in addition to your late wages.
If your employer is paying you unreasonably late, or you aren’t being paid on a regular basis, you may need legal help. An attorney can advise you of the rights you have under your state’s payday laws and assist you in pursuing what you are owed. To learn what your options are, contact an experienced employment law attorney in the state in which you work.