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TENNESSEE: Payroll law update, July-Dec. 2011

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Payment of wages. Beginning July 1, 2011, em­­ployers that advance employees their wages, agree to lend employees money or allow employees to charge personal items on company credit cards may offset those amounts against employees’ future wages. Employees must sign written agreements prior to the transaction allowing the offsets.

Employers must provide employees with written notice of the offset 14 days before the payday during which the offset will be made. The notice must inform employees that they owe money, which they have yet to pay back, and that their pay may be offset if they don’t pay back the money before payday. Employers may not offset the wages of employees who contest the amounts due by filing sworn affidavits with them and the state department of labor and workforce development. Employees have seven days after receiving notice to file affidavits. Employers may then sue these employees for the amounts due. (Ch. 273, L. 2011)

Work authorization. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, private employers with at least 500 employees must verify the employment status of new employees and independent contractors. Employers must request that independent contractors and employees provide one of the following documents: a valid state driver's license or photo ID issued by the department of safety, an official birth certificate issued by a state or the federal government, an unexpired U.S. passport, a U.S. certificate of birth abroad, a report of birth abroad of a citizen, a certificate of citizenship, a certificate of naturalization, a U.S. citizen identification card or a valid alien registration documentation.

Employers that choose not to require employees to present valid documents must enroll in E-Verify. Records of E-Verify results must be maintained for the later of three years after the date of hire or one year after employment is terminated.

Beginning July 1, 2012, employers with at least 200 employees must comply with these provisions. Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, employers with at least six em­­ployees must comply. Penalties apply for noncompliance. (Ch. 436, L. 2011)

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