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What are the reasons an employer can hold up a pay check?

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Nikepallas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 05:13 PM
Original message
What are the reasons an employer can hold up a pay check?
I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this but I was just wondering. An invent happen to me this past week and a half and the more I think about everything the more I begin to wonder about this company.

I will try and explain the situation without overstepping my client's privacy: To begin with my client's mother hired me but my paycheck and the client's money goes through a company that basically deals with paying me and keeping track of the funds he gets due to his disability. Anyways His mother makes it a point that every 2 weeks SHE goes through the time sheets to make sure she signed all of them(she has P.O.A.) hours are correct and mails them out to the company which is in Pittsburgh. (The client and I live north of Pittsburgh about 45 minutes away.) Time sheets are due Wednesday. The latest she sends them out is Monday morning (I should mention pay periods are from Sunday to Saturday) Well she went to the post office on the Dec 26th and sent placed the envelop in the mail box right outside of the post office. We think nothing more of it.
Now the day of the paychecks. Instead of getting a pay stub in the mail(I have direct deposit) I get a letter that the time sheets where late so I won't get paid for this time period and if all the paperwork is done correctly I will get my money in the following paycheck. The letter also indicated that the time sheets didn't reach their office until 1-3-05. My client's mom(she has been fighting for us and is on our side all the way) was livid. She said it was impossible went to the post office to see if a envelop could be held up a week in a half.Post office manager says no that even though the post office is closed on Sunday the mail from the mailbox in front of the post office is picked up.

Mother tries to talk to that company they tell her she should have us mail out or individual time sheets so she is not responsible for the late paychecks. Mother says that is not satisfying to her that she mails them out so she knows everything is done correctly on them. She calls State to talk to the people in charge of the program they tell her that's not right that a supervisor needs to be told about it and they will get back to her...long story short Supervisor told client's mom that he talked to the company and that they will be mailing out the paychecks and that they NEVER should have been held up. He basically told the mother that he told them he never wanted to hear this happening again and without going into details gave the impression they have heard of this practice going on before. Company calls mother's back to make it sound like they where doing us a favor and this was an exception and if it happen again we would not get the check until the following pay.

So my question is has anyone heard of this happening in any other company? Also I was told by someone that it is illegal to hold up a paycheck like that. Is that true?
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. If you're paid by the hour, your timesheets have to be in on time. If
you're paid by salary, your time sheets probably still have to be in on time.

The real issue might be why they say the time sheets weren't in on time.

For many of us in today's world, we submit time sheets electronically to the person approving them. That person then emails them to the employer who accepts them based on the fact that they came from the correct email address with the notation "approved for payment".

Another way is to use a Fax machine, which we also use for this type of thing.

In some cases, the original timesheet has to be sent by mail within a certain amount of time but the email or the Fax trigger the payment.
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Nikepallas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. That was another issue about fax and e-mail the company said they
refuse to accept any such thing. My HUGE beef was the fact that no forwarning came from the company. On the six when the paycheck shouldhave been their nothing but that letter.

The mother makes sure she copes all time sheets from week to week in case of a problem but how can she use the copies when the company refused to accept copies nor do they accept a faxed timesheet or e-mail of any sort.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
2. you have to be paid on the time your company
designates it`s payday. where i am the checks are on thrusday night and fri morning.if there is any problem they have to tell us before hand or they are in trouble with the guys in the corp. and the state. with holding paychecks after you have been fired or laid off is really something they shouldn`t do for their own good..
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. Your employer has to pay you within 48 hours.
That's the law. The only reason they can withhold payment is if you owe them some money. For example, a cafeteria savings plan, or some kind of Advance you got on your pay check. They can hold off a little bit to research and make sure they deduct whatever is owed to them. But they have to do it within 48 hours.

If they don't, you have a rock-solid case which you can take to the Labor Department (look in the blue pages of the phone directory). We've dealt with stuff like this. The employee won EVERY TIME, and they got a penalty payment, as well.

Good luck! Time is on your side, in this case.
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Nikepallas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thank you for the infomation. I will keep it in mind in case this company
does this in the future. Do you know if the company has to tell you of a problem a head of time?

She sent out the time sheets on 26th company was claiming that they didn't get it until 3rd and pay checks came out the 6th of that same week.
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. If the employer doesn't get its time sheets,
that's the employer's problem, not yours. It sounds like this employer has some problems with organization - and Employment Law.

Just because this payroll person didn't get the time sheets in on time is still no excuse for not paying. I'll try to look up the exact law on time sheets.

My suggestion: write everything down, including dates, times and what happened. Just keep it in writing. Keep copies of pay stubs, and try to document when your time sheet was turned in.

Next, call your state Labor Board. You may even be able to find it on the Internet. Call them and explain what happened. No attorney needed. They'll get action for you because if they don't, you will be getting a penalty payment for the company's stupidity.

We had one girl who worked for the Good Guys (not so "good"!). They held off paying her for 2 weeks. They made one excuse after another. Finally we helped her and took the case to State of Oregon Labor department. She got paid within a week, and took an extra $2,000.00 in penalties because the fools didn't think the Labor department was serious. There have been other instances too, where the employer had to shell out $$$.
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n2mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Companies cannot withhold a paycheck.
if you owe them they can deduct the amount from your check, otherwise you must get paid on schedule with the deductions.

I agree with you Cliss.
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oscar111 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Skid Row workers oft never paid: no lawyers, so why pay them?
Edited on Sun Jan-16-05 06:07 PM by oscar111
This is not about the orig post, but i thought you readers might like to know this related fact:

several conversations with denizens of skid row, and one article by a union paper, gave me the impression that some hire skid row fellows , planning on never paying them.

they know the workers will never be able to pay a lawyer.

Ripoffs by stores and landlords are also common at that level.

They know that the victims will never get a lawyer. Apparently the DA , Labor dept, and others, also do nothing.

Roofers apparently are common offenders in this regard.. hiring a work gang to do roofs, from skid row. Then never paying.

Tell freepers about this, when frepers claim that laziness is why folks are poor. The reality is ripoffs of massive scale, by

no doctors
no lawyers

and a Job Shortage of 14 million
guarantees 14 million will have no job, even if all should somehow have a PhD education.

has the facts on mere 3 million jobs, for 17 million jobless and discouraged. It states the 3 million stat.. other sites have the common stats on joblessness and discouraged.

Since 14 million will never get a job.. that is the source of our massive crime.

Poverty = hunger = rob for food, rent.

Pretty obvious.

I'm not saying crime is OK, but it is inevitable given how a few will react to hunger. 12 million is the US population now in hunger.
Bush plans food stamp cuts to add a million more folks. That will up crime, i predict.

To end crime, provide jobs for all.

Clinton's SOL, Reich, advises the site. Share the Work, WPA, co ops to provide jobs.
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Blue Wally Donating Member (974 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 06:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. Is this the only time it has happened??
The envelope may have come to rest in someone's in-box who was away on a Christmas vacation. Lots of things fall through the crack on the week between Christmas and New Years. If they are otherwise pretty good about paying, you mioght want to cut them some slack.
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amazona Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 06:49 PM
Response to Original message
10. once it starts happening go find another job
Yes, it is illegal to hold your paycheck if you are actually an employee. If you are a contractor, you are SOL. Your mention of "client" scares me. When clients don't pay, your only option is a civil suit. I have clients who declared bankruptcy and otherwise did not pay, and 20 years have passed, and guess what, they're not ever gonna pay. Just another reason why being a contractor instead of an employee sucks majorly.

I do know several people whose pay checks from actual jobs were delayed. In all cases, the businesses had other irregularities and soon went under. In several cases, the misfortunate employees learned that their health insurance payments had been "borrowed" and when the employees needed health care, they learned their insurance was cancelled and they had to pay the un-insured price for doctor/hospital/Rx or just do without. As one of the friends in question had a broken bone, she was then left tens of thousands of dollars in debt and had to declare bankruptcy. The owner of this business did end up in jail but it was little satisfaction to her.

So my answer is...A one-time screw-up on paycheck is maybe, MAYBE possible to be innocent. But it is likely a sign of big trouble brewing.

Start looking for another job if you are employed. And if you are doing contract work, stop doing it until you are paid up. Put your attention to finding other clients.

The conservation movement is a breeding ground of communists
and other subversives. We intend to clean them out,
even if it means rounding up every birdwatcher in the country.
--John Mitchell, US Attorney General 1969-72

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