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How long can a former employer hold your last pay check?

Flint, MI |

I put in my two weeks notice at work and in that two weeks I called off for a medical problem. The employer stated they no longer needed me to finish out the two weeks and would be mailing my check and it has been two weeks and they are right down the road from where I live.

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Attorney answers 2


Calling off during your last two weeks was probably not a good thing. If they owe you the money simply give them a call. It sounds like you put in your two weeks and your former employer felt you were taking advantage and decided to let you go immediately. Generally employer's don't take this kind of behavior well.

Call your former employer's HR person and ask where your last paycheck is.

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The fact that they are right down the road from you doesn't really mean anything if they told you they would mail it...

You don't tell us what the payroll cycle at the former employer is. Every week? Every other? Every month? All three are pretty common and I wouldn't assume one over the other for purposes of trying to give you an answer...

Also, sometimes employees are liable for certain things when they leave - for example, if you had tools assigned to you that need to be inspected, or something like that, there could be a variable there...

Anyhow, I wouldn't expect them to cut you a check immediately just because you quit. If it just went to regular payroll, that would mean it should get processed at the same time as the rest of the checks. So, figure out what payroll period the hours they owe you would fall under (don't forget to include any lag period, like if payroll is behind because you had to work for a week or two before getting a check). Then, give them time to process any setoffs you may owe them - may be applicable or not, I cannot say. Then, consider that they think you burned them, and add some time while the check meanders its way to the mail.

I would think that a week beyond the payroll date would be reasonable. Even if it wasn't you are limited in what you can do. I am not aware of any law that states "last payroll checks must be issued within X days or the boss goes to jail" - at best, you have a claim for wages owed, possibly some other employment related claim if you could prove they did anything retaliatory - but, you are talking quite a long time from commencement of a case to judgment if that is the route you have to go.

Frankly, I would wait a while and contact them courteously and professionally. If they don't pay then you likely have a cause of action. Maybe you could file in small claims, but they would likely remove it so their lawyer could appear.

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