My Employer Refuses To Pay Me - What Can I do?

Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Would it be devastating to you if your employer failed to pay you on time? Is your employer paying you less than $7.25/hour? What if your employer only paid you a portion of what you earned? Well, if you work in Pennsylvania you are protected and you have recourse under Pennsylvania's Wage Payment and Collection Law, also known as the WPCL. 43 P.S. § et. seq. In fact, you are entitled to be paid for all work performed, even if the work you are doing is by your own choice, before or after a shift.

When you are hired, your employer must tell you the time and place of payment, the rate of pay and the amount of any fringe benefits or supplemental pay. And, for all hourly employees, your employer must pay you at least semimonthly. Of course, your employer may pay you on a weekly basis - and this cycle must be disclosed to you at the time of hire.

Are you an hourly employee who sometimes works more than forty (40) hours a week? If so, does your employer fully compensate you for that overtime? Are you paid one and one half times your pay rate? You are entitled to overtime pay in Pennsylvania even if your employer claims she did not authorize you to do the work.

Moreover, upon separation wages earned become due and payable by the next regular pay period in your employer's pay cycle. And, if there is a dispute as to the amount, the employer is under a duty to pay at least the undisputed portion of wages owed. While the term "wages" includes vacation pay, Pennsylvania law does not require an employer to pay unused vacation time to the separated employee. In other words, if you have unused vacation time at separation, an employer "use it or lose it" policy will prohibit reimbursement. It is however, incumbent upon the employer to make a "use it or lose it" policy known in the workforce.

If you feel your employer isn't paying you for all time worked, or if upon separation your employer withholds your pay, Pennsylvania's Wage Payment and Collection Law authorizes civil action. Know your rights. You may be entitled to back pay, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees and costs. The statute of limitations is two (2) years under federal law; three (3) years under the state law so don't sit on your rights.

While the information in this article is not intended to be legal advice, if you think you are the victim of illegal labor practices, including wage theft, we invite you to contact our experienced lawyers.