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How far must we go to deliver a final paycheck to a former employee?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources,Office Management,Payroll Management

Q. Over the past six months, we have made several attempts to mail a former employee her last paycheck by certified mail. We believe we have the correct address because we mailed her other items by regular mail during this period and none has been returned. What legal obligations do we have, if any, to get this check to her?

A. Employers should make every effort to get a paycheck to a former employee by the next scheduled pay date following the employee’s separation from employment.  

The Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law, P.L. 637, No. 329, provides that “whenever an employer separates an employee from the payroll, or whenever an employee quits or resigns his employment, the wages or compensation earned shall become due and payable not later than the next regular payday of his employer on which such wages would otherwise be due and payable. If requested by the employee, such payment shall be made by certified mail.”

By attempting to send the check by certified mail, you have acted with due diligence and are not in violation of any wage laws.

You will probably eventually hear from your former employee about her final paycheck. If she doesn’t contact you, put the paycheck and proof that you tried to send it by certified mail into the employee’s personnel file.

If the former employee complains to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, then you can submit the check to the Department of Labor and Industry to show that you attempted to deliver it to the employee.

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