While the federal government’s regulations regarding minimum wage, overtime and other issues surrounding the employment relationship are generally well known, most states have their own regulations that may overlap with or raise the bar when compared with federal law. It is important for any business to fully understand the state payday obligations imposed by both the state and federal governments. This can be particularly challenging for businesses that operate in more than one state.
State Payday Regulations
In some states, employees must be paid weekly, while others allow for bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or even monthly payment of wages. In many states, however, the analysis is more complicated than simply looking up the mandated interval. For example, some states mandate bi-weekly or semi-monthly payment for most employees, but allow executives, professionals and other high-level employees to be paid monthly. In other states, the standard requirement may be varied with leave of the appropriate governing body, or employees in a particular industry may be subject to different requirements. Further, in some states the requirements for payment of overtime wages differ from those with regard to regular wages.
Knowing your obligations and options for variances is the first step toward protecting your organization from payday claims. Our experienced labor lawyers can ensure that you understand your responsibilities under applicable state law and know how to fulfill them.
State Payday Hearings
If an employee alleges that you have violated the state’s payday requirements, you may be called to answer for that violation. The exact procedure for employee reporting, employer response and investigation of claims will differ somewhat from state to state. If you have been accused of a violation, it is critical that you are familiar with the specifics of that state’s procedures, your rights in the proceedings and how best to submit evidence and documentation to the appropriate governing body. That may best be achieved by working with an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process step by step and advise you on how best to protect your organization.
The State Payday Process
As mentioned above, the process varies from state to state. This high level overview of one state’s process will give you a general idea of what to expect.
- An employee files a complaint and submits documentation to the appropriate governmental entity
- A settlement conference is scheduled to attempt to resolve the claim without a hearing
- If no settlement is reached, a hearing is scheduled
- The employee and employer will testify and present evidence at the hearing
- The hearing officer renders a decision
- You may appeal the decision
Depending on the state and the type of evidence, you may be required to comply with very specific procedures, from providing prior notice of witnesses to submitting multiple copies of documents. When you have an attorney from our firm at your side, you can rest assured that a knowledgeable professional is taking charge of fulfilling those procedural requirements and giving your company the best opportunity for a favorable ruling or settlement.
Unemployment Insurance Hearings
When an employee leaves your service, he or she may be entitled to unemployment compensation. However, not every departing employee is eligible to receive unemployment.
Like the payday requirements discussed above, the specifics regarding unemployment insurance and compensation of separated employees differ somewhat from state to state. Generally, however, some reasons a separated employee might not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits might include:
- Not having enough work history to qualify
- Legitimate classification as an independent contractor
- Termination for cause
Generally, when a former employee applies for unemployment benefits, you will be offered the opportunity to respond to the request. In most states, both the employee and the employer have the opportunity to appeal adverse decisions.
Some issues surrounding eligibility or lack of eligibility for unemployment benefits is quite technical and may not be intuitive. An experienced unemployment insurance attorney like the labor lawyers in our firm can ensure that you are aware of all the potential weaknesses in your former employee’s claim and know how to best present your evidence.
Talk to a State Employment Law Attorney
When you are setting up operations or hiring employees in any state, it is essential that you are aware of the relevant state regulations in addition to federal employment laws. Working with an experience labor and employment lawyer from the outset will help you to avoid pitfalls and save time and money by following all regulations and maintaining the right documentation from the beginning.
However, it is never too late to start protecting your interests. If you are already conducting business but did not fully investigate these issues when you got started, or if you are facing a claim by an employee or past employee, take action today to protect your rights.