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If I am a partner in an S-Corp, am I still entitled to be paid at least minimum wage for the work that I do?

Chicago, IL |

I work Mon.-Fri. 9a-5p, the title I use is Administrative Assistant. I haven't had a paycheck since Dec. 24th, 2012. My partner says that because I am a partner, if the business isn't bringing in enough money, then there is no money to pay me. Therefore, he only writes me a check when there are sufficient funds after paying commissions to our salespeople, production expenses for the TV ads that our customers have purchased and bills. My total income for the years 2008 thru 2012 was: $25,017.50; taxes were not taken out of any paycheck since the first week of 2009.

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Attorney answers 1


Are you concerned that your partner is violating your agreement? Do you have any stock/ownership certificates showing your ownership in the S-Corp? Does the S-Corp engage in board/shareholder meetings? Do you have access to the books?

Generally, owners of a corporation are supposed to draw a reasonable salary. Is there an agreement in place (written, ideally) regarding your compensation? Obviously, if the business can't afford to pay a salary, then a salary is impossible. It's a business owner's hope that he or she will be paid for the work performed for his or her own company, but that is not always a reality. Your partner should be candid with you on what the finances of the business look like.

Further, owners/shareholders in a corporation have a fiduciary duty to each other. I would want to make sure everything is correct with the books and in good standing with the state and that everyone is in adherence to any agreements made between owners/shareholders. If not, I would suggest you contact an attorney regarding a possible breach of agreement and breach of his/her fiduciary duties.

Also, you may have a tax issue on your hands. You should've been issued appropriate tax documents (w2 or 1099) for the money you've received from the business. I do not concentrate in taxation, so I would contact an accountant or tax lawyer ASAP.

Please note that this answer is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or an offer to form an attorney-client relationship.