Tennessee has chosen to pass several laws protecting employees from employer abuse. Among these laws are protections relating to the time and way paychecks must be issued to employees for work done.

When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out?

Tennessee law requires that all wages and compensation owed to an employee must be paid within the following schedule:

  • Wages and compensation earned between the 1st and 15th of the month must be paid by the 5th day of the following month. For example, wages earned on the 3rd of January must be paid on or before the 5th of February.
  • Wages and compensation earned between the 16th and end of month must be paid by the 20th of the following month. For example, wages earned on the 18th of March must be paid on or before the 20th of April.

What Happens If You are Fired?

Final paychecks (whether you quit or you were fired) must be paid in full no later than the next regularly scheduled payday following the end of employment or within 21 days from the end of employment, whichever occurs last.

Whether other compensation (such as unused holiday or vacation pay) must be paid out after the termination of employment is generally governed by the employment agreement.

Can Your Paycheck be Garnished?

Like most states, Tennessee allows for the garnishment of wages for many reasons, including:

  • child support,
  • money owed due to a civil lawsuit,
  • money owed as part of a court ordered fine, and
  • unpaid taxes.

Furthermore, if your employment agreement allows, an employer may have the right to withhold paychecks until you have returned employer property such as uniforms or equipment.

Can You Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

You have rights to collect for damages for improperly withheld paychecks. An employer’s improper withholding of paychecks can have a serious impact on an employee’s ability to pay bills and support a family. Contacting a lawyer and filing a claim in civil court may be your best chance of getting back wrongly withheld wages.

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

Contact an experienced local Tennessee employment lawyer if you believe that your employer has acted inappropriately.You have rights and a knowledgeable lawyer can work to protect you and your family.