Is it OK to withhold money from employees’ final paychecks to ensure we’re reimbursed? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Is it OK to withhold money from employees’ final paychecks to ensure we’re reimbursed?

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Q. Can I make deductions from an employee’s final paycheck for outstanding expenses or company property that the employee still has in his or her possession?

A. The Texas Payday Law applies here. An employer generally may not withhold or divert any part of an employee’s wages without a court order, statutory authorization or written authorization from the employee.

Employers should obtain a signed, written authorization from every employee before making any deductions. To make sure it is valid, a written authorization to deduct from an employee’s paycheck must be specific and provide adequate notice of what may be withheld from pay. The authorization should specify each item of property for which the employer wishes to deduct—such as personal expenses charged to the employer, company property lent to the employee and sums advanced to the worker.

Employers should be as specific as possible in listing the particular items lent to the employee (e.g., “laptop computer” or “cellular telephone”) to ensure that the authorization is enforceable.

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