Not Getting Paid On Time.

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being paid late:

If employees are supposed to be paid on the 15th and the 30th of each month but are not getting paid until several days later is there anything they can do? Some people really need their check when they expect it. Thanks

Signed, Unpaid

Dear Unpaid:

I can imagine how frustrating and irritating it is to not get your paycheck! There may be state laws about the delivery of your wages. Check the internet for your state’s Department of Labor, then see if they have a FAQ section with a question that covers failure to pay wages.

In some states, such as California, there are laws that affect most businesses. In others, there are no such laws and the only thing that may happen is that you can get help if wages are permanently withheld. In your case, it appears they are delayed but you get them eventually.You might want to look in the yellow pages for attorneys who specialize in labor law. Often they will give advice over the phone for free, if the matter is a basic one, as this is. If not, you’re not out anything. But, you might get better legal input than I am able to give. Some of the things an attorney or your state’s department of labor would want to know: The size of the company overall, how many people’s salaries are delayed, for how long are they delayed, what reasons are given, who is responsible for paying you?

Have you and some others considered asking for a meeting with your employer or manager and stating how damaging this is and asking for more consistency about wages? I know it would seem he or she would be aware of all that, but if no one complains personally and in a focused way, the owner may think it’s OK to float the money a few days. Or, it may be the owner doesn’t know it’s happening, because someone else is responsible for it.If everyone would speak up at the same time, it might make a difference, because it might make the owner think people will walk off the job if things don’t change.The above would seem particularly true if the business is making money, but the boss just doesn’t pay on time for one reason or another.

This sometimes happens when the employer wants to make interest on the money for a few more days, or when the boss is a poor businessperson and doesn’t use his or her time well to handle such things.If the job has plenty of possible employees waiting for work, the employer may feel he or she has the upper hand and wouldn’t care if people quit. That usually isn’t the case, especially if several took that action. If this is a situation where the employer is desperately trying to make things right but simply doesn’t make enough profits to pay wages and keep things going, that is probably a sign that the business isn’t successful and will go under anyway. You may feel badly for the employer, but you and others should be looking around for work where they DO pay you on time, every time.

I wish there was something specific that could help you, but I’m afraid this is one with few options: You can let your employer know for certain that this isn’t acceptable, you can tolerate it or you and others can quit. I’m hoping a strong statement by a team of employees will help this situation.Best wishes as you look for ways to solve this problem for all of you.

Tina Lewis Rowe