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Across Arizona, an employee’s first question after losing their job is often “when will I receive my final paycheck?” Leaving a position, whether you quit or you were laid off, can be an intense and stressful time. The situation can be highly-charged and both parties will want to be sure that a worker’s rights are fully respected.
For both the employee and the employer, Arizona has some important final paycheck rules that everyone should be aware of. State law regulates when an employee should receive their final paycheck, how it will be paid, and explains what can happen if these rules are ignored.
When an employee is laid off, Arizona law makes it clear that they should receive all wages owed to them within seven working days of their last day, or by the end of the employer’s next regular pay period (whichever happens first). This must be paid by check, draft, money order, warrant or bank deposit. It should not be dated later than the day it is paid.
If an employer fails to comply with these rules, they could be subject to a civil action by the employee. If a court finds that an organization has acted incorrectly, it could ultimately result in the company being ordered to pay a figure that is treble (triple) the amount of the wages claimed.
If an employee quits their job, Arizona law says that their employer must pay all wages due to them by no later than the next regular payday after they resigned. An employee can request that their final paycheck be sent by mail.
In general, Arizona law says that an employer cannot withhold an employee's wages. However, a final paycheck could be held back if there is a reasonable dispute over the amount of wages due, including if the employer is claiming a debt or a need for reimbursement from the employee.
There is no legal requirement in Arizona that employers offer paid vacation to their employees. Of course, many still do and this raises a common question of whether unused vacation must be paid out as part of the final paycheck. In general, Arizona law says that the final paycheck must include all compensation which the employee had a reasonable expectation they would receive. When it comes to vacation, these expectations will likely be based on the policies and procedures of their employer.
Employees should look carefully at their contract to see whether they have agreed to a specific policy on unused vacation days. For employers, they must approach the topic sensibly to properly consider what policies on vacation they intend to create.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified wage and hour lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local wage and hour attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.