Q. We have an employee whom we fired on a Monday and we paid him his final check on the next regular payday (the following Friday). He said we legally had to issue his final check within 48 hours of the firing. Is that true?—M.D.
A. No, he’s wrong. Final-paycheck rules are typically decided by state law. According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, when you dismiss employees for any reason—either voluntarily or involuntarily—you must pay all wages due on or before the next regular payday. You must distribute those wages through the regular pay channels or by mail, if requested by the employee.
State law also says that wages based on bonuses, commissions or other forms of calculation must be paid on the first regular payday after the sum becomes calculable.
Finally, employers can’t withhold a final paycheck simply because the employee refuses to pick it up. Put it in the mail, at your own expense.
- Fire blatant rule-breakers--even 'top producers'
- Document solid reasons for firing complainer
- You never have to tolerate fights in the workplace
- Beware desperate 'whistle-blower': Document reason for firing to stop retaliation claim
- Investigations must be thorough, but not bulletproof to justify discipline