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Isn’t it illegal to withhold pay as punishment?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. When an employee fails to clock in or out properly, our payroll department withholds that day’s pay until the next pay period as a form of employee discipline. My understanding is that an employer can’t hold back portions of pay as punishment. Am I right?

A. Yes. Under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Col­­lec­­tion Law, employees must be paid on regular paydays. It is not permissible to withhold or delay pay as punishment. Instead, you can discipline the employee by following a process of progressive discipline (or whatever process is set forth in your employee handbook or policies, if applicable)—which often takes the form of counseling, followed by a written warning, followed by probation/suspension and finally, termination of employment.

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