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Chart: Final Paychecks for Departing Employees

By | Small Business

Most states require employers to give departing employees their final paychecks in fairly short order -- sometimes on their last day of work. In some states, these time limits vary depending on whether the employee quit or was fired. Some states require employers to pay out accrued, unused vacation days with the final paycheck; the chart below does not include these vacation pay rules.

Many employers break these laws out of ignorance. They assume that paying the employee on the usual payroll schedule is sufficient. But violating these laws -- even unwittingly -- can be costly. In some states, if an employer fails to pay a departing employee within the legal time limits, the employer may have to pay additional penalties, interest, and any attorneys' fees and legal costs the employee spends in forcing the employer to comply.

Here is a rundown of state laws regarding the timing of final paychecks:

StateFinal Paycheck Deadline
AlabamaNo statute
AlaskaIf employee is fired: within three working days. If employee quits: next regular payday at least three days after employee gives notice. (Alaska Stat. § 23.05.140.)
ArizonaIf employee is fired: within three working days or next payday, whichever is sooner. If employee quits: next payday. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23-353.)
ArkansasIf employee is fired: within seven days from discharge. (Arkansas Code § 11-4-405.)
CaliforniaIf employee is fired: immediately. If employee quits: within 72 hours, or immediately if employee has given at least 72 hours' notice. (Cal. Lab. Code §§ 201, 202, and 227.3.)
ColoradoIf employee is fired: immediately. (Within six hours of start of next workday, if payroll unit is closed; 24 hours if unit is offsite.) Employer decides check delivery. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-4-109.)
ConnecticutIf employee is fired: next business day after discharge. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 31-71c.)
DelawareIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Del. Code Ann. tit. 19, § 1103.)
District of ColumbiaIf employee is fired: next business day. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or within seven days, whichever is sooner. (D.C. Code § 32-1303.)
FloridaNo statute
GeorgiaNo statute
HawaiiIf employee is fired: immediately or next business day, if conditions prevent immediate payment. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or immediately, if employee gives one pay period's notice. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 388-3.)
IdahoIf employee is fired: next payday or within 10 days (excluding weekends & holidays), whichever is sooner. If employee makes a written request for earlier payment, within 48 hours of receiving request (excluding weekends & holidays). If employee quits: next payday or within 10 days (excluding weekends & holidays), whichever is sooner. If employee makes a written request for earlier payment, within 48 hours of receiving request (excluding weekends & holidays). (Idaho Code §§ 45-606, 45-617.)
IllinoisIf employee is fired: at time of separation if possible, but no later than next payday. If employee quits: at time of separation if possible, but no later than next payday. (820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 115/5.)
IndianaIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. If employee has not provided a forwarding address, employer may wait until 10 days after employee demands wages or until employee provides an address where the check may be mailed. (Ind. Code §§ 22-2-9-1 and 22-2-5-1.)
IowaIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Iowa Code Ann. § 91A.4.)
KansasIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 44-315.)
KentuckyIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday or within 14 days, whichever is later. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or within 14 days, whichever is later. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 337.055.)
LouisianaIf employee is fired: next payday or within 15 days, whichever is earlier. If employee quits: next payday or within 15 days, whichever is earlier. (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23:631.)
MaineIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday or within two weeks after demand, whichever is earlier. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or within two weeks after demand, whichever is earlier. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 26, § 626.)
MarylandIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Md. Lab. & Emp. Code Ann. § 3-505.)
MassachusettsIf employee is fired: day of discharge. If employee quits: next payday. If no scheduled payday, then following Saturday. (Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 149 § 148.)
MichiganIf employee is fired: next payday. If employee quits: next payday. (Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 408.474 and 408.475.)
MinnesotaIf employee is fired: immediately. If employee quits: next payday. If payday is less than five days after last day of work, employer may pay on the following payday or 20 days after last day of work, whichever is earlier. (Minn. Stat. §§ 181.13 and 181.14.)
MississippiNo statute
MissouriIf employee is fired: day of discharge. (Mo. Ann. Stat. § 290.110.)
MontanaIf employee is laid off or fired for cause: immediately. Employer may have a written policy extending this time to the next payday or within 15 days, whichever is earlier. If employee quits: next payday or within 15 days, whichever is earlier. (Mont. Code Ann. § 39-3-205.)
NebraskaIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday or within two weeks, whichever is earlier. If employee quits: next payday or within two weeks, whichever is earlier. (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-1230.)
NevadaIf employee is fired: immediately. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or within seven days, whichever is earlier. (Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 608.020 and 608.030.)
New HampshireIf employee is fired: within 72 hours. If employee is laid off, employer may wait until the next payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or within 72 hours, if employee gives one pay period's notice. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 275:44.)
New JerseyIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 34:11-4.3.)
New MexicoIf employee is fired: within five days. If employee quits: next payday. (N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 50-4-4, 50-4-5.)
New YorkIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (N.Y. Labor Laws § 191.)
North CarolinaIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95.25.7.)
North DakotaIf employee is fired: next payday or within 15 days, whichever is earlier. If employee quits: next payday. (N.D. Cent. Code § 34-14-03.)
OhioIf employee is fired or quits: first of the month for wages earned in the first half of prior month; fifteenth of the month for wages earned in second half of prior month. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 4113.15.)
OklahomaIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 40, § 165.3.)
OregonIf employee is fired: end of first business day after termination (must be within five days if employee submits time records to determine wages due). If employee quits: immediately, if employee has given 48 hours' notice (excluding weekends & holidays). Without notice, within five days or the next payday, whichever occurs first. (must be within five days if employee submits time records to determine wages due). (Or. Rev. Stat. § 652.140.)
PennsylvaniaIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 260.5.)
Rhode IslandIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-14-4.)
South CarolinaIf employee is fired: within 48 hours or next scheduled payday, but not more than 30 days. (S.C. Codified Laws § 41-10-50.)
South DakotaIf employee is fired: next payday or when employee returns employer's property. If employee quits: next payday or when employee returns employer's property. (S.D. Codified Laws §§ 60-11-10 and 60-11-14.)
TennesseeIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday or within 21 days, whichever is later. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or within 21 days, whichever is later. (Tenn. Code. Ann. § 50-2-103.)
TexasIf employee is fired: within six days. If employee quits: next payday. (Texas Code Ann., Labor § 61.014)
UtahIf employee is fired: within 24 hours. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Utah Code Ann. § 34-28-5.)
VermontIf employee is fired: within 72 hours. If employee quits: next scheduled payday or, if no scheduled payday exists, the next Friday. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 342.)
VirginiaIf employee is fired: next scheduled payday. If employee quits: next scheduled payday. (Va. Code § 40.1-29.)
WashingtonIf employee is fired: end of next pay period. If employee quits: end of next pay period. (Wash. Rev. Code § 49.48.010.)
West VirginiaIf employee is fired: within 72 hours. If employee quits: Immediately, if employee has given one pay period's notice; otherwise, next scheduled payday. (W. Va. Code § 21-5-4.)
WisconsinIf employee is fired: next payday or within one month, whichever is earlier. If termination is due to merger, relocation, or liquidation of business, within 24 hours. If employee quits: next payday. (Wis. Stat. Ann. § 109.03.)
WyomingIf employee is fired: five working days. If employee quits: five working days. (Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-4-104.)

To learn more about what to do when workers leave, how to fire employees, and the laws affecting every aspect of being an employer, get The Employer's Legal Handbook, by Fred S. Steingold (Nolo).

If you want some advice from a lawyer, Nolo's Lawyer Directory can help you find a local employment lawyer.

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