Working for money but not being paid for your work is one of the most frustrating situations in which a person can find themselves. Your employer has a responsibility to pay you for the hard work you do. It is important that you know your wage rights in Illinois to ensure you are paid fairly and on time. If you have any issues or disputes over a paycheck matter, you may be entitled to recovery under Illinois and federal laws.

When Does Illinois Require Paychecks Be Sent Out?

Under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, your employer must pay you once every 13 days if you are a regular “blue collar” employee. However, if you are a professional, administrative, or executive employee, then you are only entitled to be paid on a monthly basis.

For this reason, if your employer fails to deliver your paycheck according to the rules of the Act, your employer may become legally liable for their violation. In such cases, legal action may be necessary in order to obtain the appropriate legal remedy for your claim.

What Happens to My Paycheck If I am Fired in Illinois?

In Illinois, regardless of whether you were fired or you quit, you still have the right to receive your last paycheck on your next scheduled payday. The state does not require companies to offer paid leave, but, if your former employer does offer this perk, then they must pay you for any unused days when you leave the job. You are entitled to such payment regardless of whether you decided to quit your job or you were terminated.

Does Illinois Law Allow My Paycheck to be Garnished?

Wage garnishment is a type of arrangement wherein the employer is allowed to set aside some of their employee’s paycheck, to be used for paying off various types of debt (such as unpaid child support). The employee will generally take the monetary portions and send them directly to the court; however in some cases, they might use a third party agency who will manage the funds for the court.

Wage garnishment is typically ordered and authorized by the court. However, in some cases, your paycheck can be garnished even without a court order. Those situations are usually if you owe taxes, student loan payments, or child support payments.

If you owe money for other bills, such as a civil settlement or past-due rent, the creditor must first go to court and ask for a judgment against you. Once the creditor gets that judgment requiring you to pay the debt, they can have your paycheck garnished to pay for that debt until it is paid off.

Similar to other debts, your employer cannot automatically deduct money from your paycheck for damaged equipment or products. If your employer wishes to dock your wages for such a loss, they need your written consent to do this at the time they are deducting the amount.

Does Illinois Let Employees Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

You absolutely have the right to recover a withheld paycheck that your employer is refusing to give you. If you are having issues getting your paycheck, you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor to obtain assistance.

In some cases, the entire paycheck might not be withheld, but there may be some significant missing amounts. In these types of instances, a wage and hour lawsuit might be necessary. This is where the court will review the person’s paycheck, pay history, and other forms of evidence to determine an appropriate legal remedy.

For example, the employee may have been entitled to a minimum wage rate; if their employee failed to calculate their pay at that rate, they may be entitled to damages. Other areas of dispute include issues with the person’s hours, overtime pay rates, tips, benefits, and other aspects of employment.  

What Else Should an Illinois Employee Know About Paychecks?

Your employer can make you pay for your uniform. However, they cannot take that money out of your paycheck without your written consent at the time they are deducting the cost, and the amount cannot reduce your paycheck to below minimum wage. Also, your employer cannot wait for you to return your uniform or equipment before providing you with your final paycheck.

On the other hand, you’ll want to make sure that there aren’t any specific items mentioned in an employment contract that could make you liable for property damages. For instance, there may be  a provision in the employment contract that discusses what happens if an employee crashes a company vehicle. In order to prevent liability in the future, you may need to have an attorney review your employment contract before you sign it.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer to Help Me with My Paycheck?

It is important to find a local Illinois employment lawyer who can help you if you are having issues with your paycheck. Speaking with a lawyer can help you get options for any sort of problem you are having with your paycheck whether it is how often you are paid or how much.