Michigan protects employees from employers who are not providing their paychecks on time or with the full amount. If you are having issues with receiving your paycheck, you should know your rights under the law.
When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out?
The law governing paycheck distribution frequency in Michigan, which is the Payment of Wages and Fringe Benefits Act, applies to both salaried employees and hourly employees. Under the law, most employers have to pay their employees on or before the first and 15th day of each month, but employers can choose to pay their employees on a more frequent basis than semimonthly. The only exception to this is if the employee harvests crops by hand, in which case the employee must be paid on a weekly basis unless otherwise specified in their written employment contract. Whether you are paid biweekly or weekly will depend on your individual work contract. Additionally, all employers in Michigan have the right to delay payment of any overtime wages earned in December by a full pay period, meaning that you may not get your additional overtime wages earned during the first pay period of December until your second payday in that month.
What Happens If I Am Fired?
Whether you quit or are fired, you should be given your final paycheck by the next scheduled payday, unless you have been hand-harvesting crops. Any employee that harvests crops by hand must be paid by the next working day following the termination of employment.
If you have any unused vacation days or sick days, then you need to check with your company policy to see if those benefits will be paid out. These are fringe benefits, and Michigan law leaves it up to your individual company to decide if they will provide them. Thus, you will only be entitled to receive payment for any unused paid leave if your company policy or your individual employment contract authorizes payment.
Can My Paycheck Be Garnished?
Before your paycheck can be garnished for a non-work related debt, a creditor typically has to take you to court and win a judgment against you that expressly entitles them to garnishing your wages. If such a judgment is issued against you, then the court can require that your employer allow money to be taken directly from your check to pay off the debt that you will be required to pay off. However, some types of debt do not require a court judgment specifically authorizing wage garnishment. Those debts are unpaid taxes, defaulted student loans, and unpaid child support payments.
If you have caused damage to property or products while on the job, your employer can deduct that amount from your paycheck, but only if you provide express written consent for the deduction. Additionally, the deduction cannot reduce your paycheck below minimum wage. If your employer has taken a deduction to cover damage without first getting your permission, then you can file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) within the 12 months following the deduction.
Can I Recover a Withheld Paycheck?
The only time your employer ever has the right to withhold your paycheck is when you have given them written authorization to not hand over your paycheck on time. Thus, if your employer is refusing to pay you what you have earned without having gotten your permission first, you do have the right to get your money. You can file a complaint with LARA’s Wage and Hour Division or file a lawsuit in court to recover your missing paycheck.
What Else Should I Know?
Michigan does allow employers to provide compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay, but several requirements must be met before compensatory time can be given. These requirements include the employee providing written consent to receive compensatory time instead of overtime, the employer providing at least 10 days of paid leave, and the employee possessing an accrued compensatory time balance of less than 240 hours.
Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?
You should consult with a Michigan employment lawyer if you are dealing with paycheck issues. An employment lawyer can determine for you which of your employer’s actions were illegal and help you figure out how to get the wages you earned.