Idaho law provides employers a lot of freedom when writing employee contracts. Idaho is a “work at-will” state meaning that employers have the power to fire an employee without notice or reason. Also, under Idaho law an employer can change an employee’s pay rate at any time unless it is prohibited your employment contract or company procedures. This means that if you have any questions about your pay, you should start by looking at your contract. In addition, there are some basic legal provisions that ensure employees are paid regularly for their work.

When must Paychecks Be Sent Out?

Idaho state law allows employers to choose when paychecks are distributed to employees. However, employers must pay all wages owed to employees at least once a month and the employer must designate in advance when paychecks will be sent out. This requirement applies whether an employee is an hourly worker or is on a set salary.

What Happens if You are Fired?

Regardless of whether the employee is fired, laid off, or quits; the employer must pay all wages owed to the departing employee (1) the next regularly scheduled payday; or (2) within 10  days of the end of employment (not including holidays or weekends), whichever occurs first. Also if an employee submits a written request for earlier payment, then all wages due to the employee must be paid within 48  hours of the request (not including holidays or weekends).

Can Your Paycheck be Garnished?

Most creditors can obtain the right to garnish wages by obtaining a civil court judgment acknowledging the debt. However, certain debts can cause your paycheck to be garnished without a court proceeding, such as: (1) unpaid income taxes; (2) court ordered child support; (3) back-due child support; and 4) defaulted student loans.

Generally, the amount that can be garnished from a weekly paycheck is capped at the lesser of 25% of a take-home paycheck or 30 times the federal minimum wage (which would be $217.50).  There are a few exceptions, for example with child support payments up to 50% of a paycheck can be withheld.

Can You Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

Employers cannot withhold or garnish any part of an employee’s wages unless:

  • given the power under federal or state law; or
  • the employee has given written permission for their employer to withhold funds for a lawful purpose (ex: Social Security and Medicare deductions).

However, if an employer wrongly refuses to issue a pay check or fails to pay the full amount of the wages due, then the employee can either:

  • file a wage claim with the Idaho Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Section; or
  • file a claim in Small Claims Court.

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

If you are looking for an attorney to help you with a paycheck related issue, then contact a local Idaho employment lawyer today to get the help you need.