South Carolina has limited protections for employees regarding the payment of wages. However, the federal government has passed several laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, that are designed to place a minimum floor on what is owed by an employer to employees.

When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out?

For all types of employment relationships (e.g., part-time vs. full-time, salaried vs. contract) the time and way an employer is required to pay employees is determined by the employment agreement. South Carolina does not mandate that an employee be paid weekly or monthly. Begin with a review your employment agreement if you believe that you are not being paid timely.

What Happens If You are Fired?

South Carolina does not require employers to pay out for unused vacation or sick days. For example, if you are terminated with 7 days of unused vacation time your employer is not required to compensate you for those unused days. However, your employment agreement may require your employer to compensate. Make sure to always have a current copy of your employment agreement available.

If you are fired from your job or voluntarily quit South Carolina law requires that your employer pay you for all wages due within 48 hours of the day of termination or at the next regularly-scheduled payday. However, in almost all situations, the employer must pay for earned wages within 30 days of separation.

Can Your Paycheck be Garnished?

Wage garnishment occurs when a certain amount of your earned wage is taken directly from your paycheck to pay debts or obligations owed to others. For example, your wages could be garnished if you have failed to pay child support or your taxes.
In certain situations, a court order is required before wage garnishment can occur. However, there are instances where a court order is not required. Generally, you are entitled to whatever documentation your employer is relying on that shows your wages can be lawfully garnished. You will want to contact an employment attorney immediately if your employer is garnishing your wages but is unwilling to show you why.

Can You Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

South Carolina law provides that an employee is entitled to certain damages when a paycheck is improperly withheld.   As discussed above, wages are to be paid at set times and the failure to make such payments can be extremely harmful to employees. For example, an improperly withheld paycheck could result in your family having missed a mortgage payment or other debt payment leading to late payment penalties or worse.

Other Things You Should Know

Under South Carolina law every employer must notify each employee in writing (the “employment agreement”) at the time of hiring of the employee’s normal hours and wages.  Furthermore, the employment agreement must state the time and place of wage payment and explain the deductions which will be made from the wages. Deductions are reductions in a wage for items such as health insurance.

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

If you believe that your wages have not been paid timely, then contacting an experienced South Carolina employment lawyer is a great first to understanding your rights and options under South Carolina law.