Employee’s Right To Last Paycheck: What Happens After Leaving a Job?

Whether you were laid off, fired, or voluntarily quit your job, federal and state laws govern how quickly your former employer has to issue your final paycheck. While federal law makes a minimum requirement, state laws vary on employee’s right to last paycheck. Additionally, several state laws carve out different last paycheck deadlines for employees that quit, as opposed to being laid off or fired. Employers who often break these rules do so ignorantly, but they could face severe penalties for non-compliance.

Federal and State Last Paycheck Laws in General

Majority of the states have laws mandating how soon an outgoing employee has to get his or her final wages. But even in those states that lack such laws, like Georgia and Mississippi, federal law needs employers to issue an outgoing employee’s last paycheck on or before the normal payday for the last pay period.

Some states have laws that require payment to outgoing employees on the next stipulated payday, which aligns with federal laws, while a lot of states mandate quick pay upon discharge or on the next business day.

Examples of State Laws

If you voluntarily quit a job or have been fired, your former employer might need to pay you sooner than the next normal pay period. Follow the link in the section above to check on the state-by-state directory of final paycheck laws for better local guidance. Below are instances of state laws establishing last payment deadlines:

California: An employee’s right to last paycheck in California means the last check has to be given instantly if you got fired, and inside 3 days (72 hours) if you quit (or straight away if you have given a notice of more than 72 hours)

Whether you were fired from your previous job or have moved on to another employer, you are entitled to your final paycheck in accordance with state law. If you are still waiting for your final paycheck beyond the statutory deadline, you might want to consider your legal options.

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