Unpaid Wages

In general you have a right to the payment of earned, but unpaid wages.  Payment of other forms of compensation such as unpaid commissions, incentives, bonuses, accrued vacation or sick leave pay is dependent in large part on the language of your employer’s policy, as well as the employer’s past practice in similar situations.

 

Commonly Asked Questions

What to do if you are not paid for the hours worked

Initially, you should obtain a copy of the compensation plan documents and review the specific language that speaks to separation from employment.

You should request a meeting with your Human Resource representative to review policy and plan documents, answer any questions, and arrive at the amount of compensation you are owed and how it will be paid to you.  If your efforts to obtain your rightful compensation are unsuccessful, you should talk to an employment attorney.

In general you have a right to the payment of earned, but unpaid wages.  Payment of other forms of compensation such as unpaid commissions, incentives, bonuses, accrued vacation or sick leave pay is dependent in large part on the language of your employer’s policy, as well as the employer’s past practice in similar situations.

Initially, you should obtain a copy of the compensation plan documents and review the specific language that speaks to separation from employment.

You should request a meeting with your Human Resource representative to review policy and plan documents, answer any questions, and arrive at the amount of compensation you are owed and how it will be paid to you.  If your efforts to obtain your rightful compensation are unsuccessful, you should talk to an employment attorney.

Should I be paid minimum wage

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Some states have their own minimum wages rates. If the state minimum wage rate is higher, than the state law applies. Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to higher of the two minimum wages.

The federal minimum wage is enforced by the Wage-Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. In states that have their own minimum wage law (or if you are not covered by the federal law), you should contact the agency in your state which handles wage and hour/labor standards violations, listed on our site's state government agencies page. While your employer may pay you different rates for different kinds of work, the differing pay rates cannot be averaged to meet your employer's minimum wage obligations. For example, your employer could not pay you $6.50 for certain hours worked, even if for the rest of the hours worked, you were paid $8.00 per hour, and your average rate of pay was therefore higher than $7.25 per hour.

Filing for a Unpaid Wages Claim

The Department of Labor conducts investigations as a part of its enforcement of the FLSA and many investigations are initiated by worker complaints.

All complaints are confidential. Your name and the nature of your complaint aren't disclosed. The only exception is when it's necessary to reveal your identity, with your permission, to pursue an allegation.

Additional information, such as copies of pay stubs, personal records of hours worked, or other information regarding the employer's pay practices, is helpful. The services the Department of Labor provides are confidential, whether or not you are documented. Importantly, your employer can't terminate you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way for filing a complaint with the Department of Labor.