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The final paycheck is often your final official contact with a former employer. This makes it particularly important that you understand the rules related to how the final paycheck should be paid and what it should include.
The law is there to protect employer and employee rights, whether you have quit your job or been let go. In Louisiana, final paycheck rules specify when you should receive your last payment and whether an employer can make any deductions from it.
If you are laid off from a job in Louisiana, the rule is that your final paycheck should be paid on whichever is earlier of:
This is true no matter what kind of employment terms you have and whether you are paid by the hour, day, week or month.
Employees who resign from their job should also be paid within the same timeframe – within 15 days of quitting or at the next regularly-scheduled payday after resigning, whichever occurs first.
An exception to these rules is where a collective bargaining agreement between the employer and employee specifies a different arrangement for final paychecks.
The final paycheck should either be paid in the same place and manner as wages have usually been paid during employment, or be sent by mail to the employee’s current address.
If your employer gives you vacation as part of your contract, you might wonder if any unused vacation days should be included in your final paycheck. Under Louisiana law, unused vacation will be due as part of the final paycheck if:
This rule will work alongside the individual employer’s vacation policy, which will specify how much vacation is currently owed and what rate should be paid.
Employees will also want to be sure that they are receiving the full unpaid wages owed to them at the time they leave the company. In general, an employer is only allowed to withhold deductions from a final paycheck that are legally required (such as taxes) or that the employee has expressly consented to (such as for a savings plan).
An employer might be allowed to make deductions as compensation when an employee has wilfully or negligently damaged goods or property belonging to the employer. This is also true when an employee is convicted or has pled guilty to theft of employer funds.
Louisiana law also says that it is illegal for employers to make employees sign anything that forfeits their wages if they resign or are fired before a contract is complete. However, it is possible the employer might be able to withhold expenses related to things like a pre-employment medical or drug test from the final paycheck.
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.