Law Regarding Shorting Paychecks

By Michelle Tapire

Federal and state laws regulate the payment of employee wages. Employers are required to pay their employee wages in cash or its equivalent, such as a check. Check payments are indeed equivalent to cash; however, many companies use them as a means to not pay their employees in full through a tactic known as "shorting." As of 2011, there isn’t any specific law regarding shorting paychecks, which is why it is employees’ responsibility to follow up the paycheck balance with their company payroll department. Nevertheless, other laws may apply depending on the reason and situation the paycheck was shorted.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is directed and controlled by the Wage and Hour Division. It administers standards for minimum wages, recordkeeping, overtime pay and child labor. Based on the FLSA, employers must pay their employees with their complete wage on a regular schedule, whether the payday is done daily, weekly, bimonthly or monthly.

Consumer Credit Protection Act

Some employers short their employees’ paychecks pursuant to the Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which covers wage garnishment. Wage garnishment is when an employer withholds the employee’s earnings for his debt payment pursuant to the court order or other equitable or legal procedures. Nevertheless, the employee must still receive a partial compensation for the services provided. If your employer has been shorting your paychecks for wage garnishment, find out how much partial compensation you should receive.

Last Paycheck

Federal law does not require employers to give their former employees last paycheck immediately. However, some states may require immediate release of final paycheck. The final paycheck, except when wage garnishment applies, should be able to pay the former employee in full. If your final paycheck is short and you know that you don’t have any debt to pay, contact the local office for the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration.

Show-up Pay

Show-up pay, also known as reporting pay, is a form of premium pay employers have to pay their employees for reporting to work on their scheduled time even when there is no work available for them. Show-up pay is designed to discourage employers from calling their workers during partial workdays. However, there is no specific federal or state law that requires employers to give show-up pay. If your paycheck falls short of your expectations, since you counted the partial workdays you have, notify your employer. If there have been many partial workdays included in your pay period, contact the Wage and Hour Division.

About the Author

Michelle Grace Tapire began her writing career in 2003 when she was hired as a part-time in-house feature writer for a local magazine called "Candy Mag." She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from St. Louis University.

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