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What are the rules on final paychecks in Virginia?

Final paycheck rules in Virginia regulate how and when an employee’s final payment from their employer should be paid. They set a legal timeframe that employers are obliged to keep to, and provide a possible route for employees to recover unpaid wages and possible compensation.

Virginia’s final paycheck rules make it clear what – if any – deductions an employer can make from a final paycheck and says whether they must pay for things like unused vacation and commission. While leaving a job after resigning or being fired can be tough, understanding the rules on final paychecks can help reduce some of the anxiety.

When should a final paycheck be paid in Virginia?

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, an employee’s final paycheck should be paid on or before the day they would ordinarily have been paid, and should include all unpaid wages the employee has earned. This requirement is the same for the final paychecks of employees who have resigned and those who have been fired.

An employer knowingly breaking this rule might receive a civil penalty, and be ordered to pay all unpaid wages plus interest.

Can an employer withhold part of a final paycheck in Virginia?

When an employee leaves a job, it is important not only to receive the final paycheck on time, but that it also includes all unpaid wages that are owed. Under Virginia’s law, an employer is not allowed to withhold any part of an employee’s wages unless:

  • The deduction is for a tax, payroll or court-ordered purpose, or
  • The employee has given written consent for the deduction.

In practice, this means that deductions could be made, for example, to pay federal taxes or for a recurring charitable payment the employee has agreed to.

Are unused vacation days part of a final paycheck in Virginia?

If an employer offers vacations days to employees, it is possible that it might be bound by the employment contract to pay for unused days in a final paycheck. Some employees leave a job with a significant amount of unused vacation that they believe represents a large amount of unpaid wages.

In general, Virginia does not require that employers offer vacation days, and so does not directly regulate how they are paid. However, if an employer has provided paid vacation as part of the employee’s agreed wages, a court might order that unused days are part of the final paycheck.

What should an employee in Virginia do if they do not receive their final paycheck?

An employee who does not receive their final paycheck on time, or who disputes the amount they should be paid, can file a claim with Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry. The Labor and Employment Law Division can investigate an employee’s claim and can start proceedings on their behalf to order an employer to fulfill its legal obligations. If the employee’s claim is successful, an employer may be ordered to pay legal costs, in addition to the unpaid wages.

Speak to an Experienced Wage and Hour Attorney Today

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.

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