Every state has the exclusive authority to make laws concerning when an employee gets their final paycheck, so you will have to look up what your state laws say in terms of an exact date. However, most states require that you be paid very close to your termination date. Many states, including California, say that an employer is required to give their employee her final paycheck, including any additional compensation such as compensation for unused vacation days, on the day she has been terminated.

Does It Matter Whether I Was Fired or Laid Off?

The law may differ if you were laid off instead of being fired. When an employee is laid off, the employer may allow the employee to come back to work at some future date. If the employer guarantees that the employee will be able to come back and gives a definitive future date for restarting employment, many states require the final paycheck be distributed at the regular pay period. If there is no guarantee of future employment, the employer usually has to distribute the last paycheck within a few days of the employee’s last work day. 

When Should I Receive My Last Paycheck if I Quit My Job?

This subject is guided by state law so you will have to check in your own state for a precise date, but usually local statutes require that if an employee gave prior notice of quitting (at least 2-3 days in advance) the employee is entitled to receive her last paycheck on her last day of work. If the employee has provided no notice, the employer usually must provide the last paycheck within a few days after the employee’s last work day. 

What Should I Do If I Don’t Get a Paycheck by the Required Due Date?

  1. You should contact your former employer and try to ascertain why you were not paid on time. 
  2. If you find your employer is willfully withholding your pay, you may want to file a complaint with you state’s labor commissioner.
  3. You may want to consult an employment attorney. An experienced employment lawyer can help you recover your wages and any additional damages that may be available.