Q. Because of a problem with timecards, we couldn't tell how much pay we owed some employees. What is our obligation to pay employees if we can't determine the exact number of hours worked? Is there any penalty for the delayed payment? — I.V., Wisconsin
A. Almost every state has a wage law that requires the timely payment of wages. In many states, if you can't determine the exact amount of wages due by a certain cutoff period, you have to pay a reasonable approximation. Under many state wage laws, failing to do this will result in big-time penalties, including interest, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees or criminal fines.
Bottom line: Minimize potential liability by paying all wages as soon as possible.