Paycheck laws, also known as wage and hour laws, are regulations that govern pay requirements and establish standards for employers and their employees. Wage and hours laws exist at both federal and state levels, with each state adopting their own versions of these laws. Thus, Utah employers and employees may find answers to many of their wage and hour questions by reviewing Utah paycheck laws.

In general, Utah paycheck laws cover a wide range of wage and hour issues. For example, a Utah employer must comply with the timing requirements of Utah final paycheck law when they terminate an employee as well as when an employee voluntarily resigns. 

Another problem that may be addressed by these state laws are Utah paycheck tax issues. For instance, employees who perform construction work in Utah must be issued a paycheck that provides the percentage of state and federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax that is subtracted from each of their paychecks.

A few other issues that Utah paycheck laws may tackle include:

  • The frequency in which Utah workers must be paid based on their status as a salaried employee, an hourly employee, or an independent contractor;
  • The type of wage claims that allow for a private cause of action to be brought against a Utah employer;
  • The method of payment that a Utah employer is permitted to use to issue a paycheck (e.g., by cash, check, direct deposit, and so forth);
  • The minimum wage in Utah and which workers may be exempt from such requirements;
  • The differences between a public and private employee in Utah; and 
  • The various restrictions on working minors under Utah minimum age and labor laws.

As is evident from the above information, Utah paycheck laws consider many crucial aspects of the employee-employer relationship. Therefore, it is very important that both parties understand their rights and obligations under these laws. 

In addition, if you do not understand a provision in Utah’s paycheck laws or if you are involved in a dispute with an employer over a subject covered by these laws, then it may be in your best interest to speak to a local employment attorney for further legal guidance on the matter. 

When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out?

According to Utah state wage and hour laws, an employer is required to pay an employee at least twice per month if they are considered a non-salaried employee. Paychecks for non-salaried employees must be issued within ten days from the close of each pay cycle or on the preceding business day if a payday falls on the weekend or a legal holiday.

On the other hand, an employer may pay an employee on a monthly basis (i.e., once per month) if they receive an annual salary. However, the employer must issue their paycheck no later than the seventh day of the month following the one in which the paycheck was earned. For example, if a salaried employee worked through the month of July, their employer would be required to give them their paycheck on or before the seventh day of August.

As for the issue of when final paychecks must be cut and sent out to workers in Utah, the law states that employers must issue final paychecks within either 24-hours or on the date of the next pay cycle. The timing will depend on whether the employee was terminated or voluntarily left the position.

Wht Happens If You are Fired?

When an employee is terminated from their job in the state of Utah, their employer will be required to issue them their final paycheck within a 24-hour period. The 24-hour period starts at the time of their firing. The reason for this is because of Utah’s wage and hour laws, which provide that any unpaid wages of a Utah-based employee will become due immediately upon their termination or resignation. 

According to the applicable state statute, a Utah employer will be deemed to have met the requisite 24-hour time frame if they have complied with any of the following actions in sending a final paycheck to an employee:

  • Initiates a direct deposit from payroll to the terminated employee’s account within 24 hours;
  • Hand delivers the employee’s final paycheck within 24 hours; or
  • Mails the final paycheck to the employee in an envelope that is postmarked with a date that is no later than one day after the employee was terminated or laid off.   

If an employer fails or refuses to pay a terminated employee within the prescribed 24-hour period, the employee’s wages will begin to accrue as if they were still working. Their wages will start to accrue from the time of their firing and continue to accumulate for no longer than 60 days, and at the same rate as they were paid prior to the termination. 

In other words, the terminated employee will be permitted to collect paychecks until they are issued their final original paycheck, even if they are not currently working. After 60 days have passed, an employee may pursue a civil action against their employer if they have still not received payment.

It should be noted, however, that this rule does not apply to Utah employees who voluntarily quit a position, as opposed to being fired or laid off from a job. Utah employees who voluntarily leave a job will need to wait until the next pay cycle to receive their final paycheck. Additionally, these termination rules also do not apply to employees involved in an industrial dispute or to sales agents who earn their salary on commission. 

As for the remainder of a terminated employee’s benefits and job perks, such as unused vacation days, whether those will continue on or need to be paid out by an employer to the terminated employee will largely depend on company policy and/or their employment contract. 

For example, Utah employers who impose a “use it or lose it” policy in regard to employee vacation days, will normally not need to pay out any of a terminated employee’s unused vacation time.

Finally, if a Utah employer does not have a company policy on a terminated employee’s benefits or if an employee never entered into an employment agreement with an employer, then Utah law states that an employer must treat unused vacation days, sick leave, holidays, and any other paid time off as wages that must be paid to an employee upon termination. 

Can Your Paycheck be Garnished?

Wage garnishment refers to an arrangement wherein an employer is legally allowed to set aside a portion of an employee’s paycheck; specifically, for the purposes of paying off some kind of debt, such as student loans that are in default or unpaid child support. 

Wage garnishment is typically authorized and ordered by a court. For instance, an employer may be required to subtract and submit some percentage of payment from an employee’s paycheck to the court. The percentage that is removed from an employee’s paycheck is known as a “garnishment.” The court or a third party will then use the wage garnishment to settle the employee’s debts.

Another instance in which an employee’s wages may be garnished is when a creditor asks the court to issue a deficiency judgment. For example, if an employee is late on rent payments or has outstanding credit card debt, then the creditor may ask the court for a deficiency judgment, which in turn, may require an employer to garnish the employee’s wages on behalf of the creditor.

Some other examples of when a Utah employer may be able to withhold or deduct an employee’s paycheck include:

  • When a Utah employer is required to do so by court order, state law, or federal law;
  • When an employee provides written consent to an employer prior to the deduction or withdrawal; and
  • When an employee elects to contribute a percentage of their funds to a savings account, trust, retirement plan, or some other financial investment.

However, there are certain situations where an employer will not be permitted to deduct funds from an employee’s paycheck. For example, an employer cannot remove wages from an employee’s paycheck in order to recover the costs of damaged items, such as tools or equipment. If an employer wants to subtract money from an employee’s paycheck for this reason, then they must first obtain the employee’s permission to do so in writing.

In addition, a Utah employee may be able to contest a wage garnishment for any of the following reasons:

  • If the entity requesting the garnishment owes the employee money;
  • When the employee’s property is exempt from a garnishment order;
  • If the “Writ of Garnishment” was not properly issued; and
  • When the entity requesting the garnishment has made a clerical error.

Employees who believe that their paychecks have been garnished in error will have 14 days from the day they receive the Writ of Garnishment to request a hearing.

Can You Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

Employees in Utah have the right to recover a paycheck that is being withheld by their employer. If a Utah employee is experiencing issues getting their paycheck, then they must file a complaint with the Utah Workforce Commission. Only after a Utah employee exhausts all administrative remedies will they be able to file a legal action in district court.

However, there are some situations that will permit a Utah employee to file a wage and hour lawsuit without first having to exhaust the above administrative remedies. This includes when:

  • An employee’s claim is for more than $10,000;
  • An employee’s claim is less than or equal to $10,000, plus:
    • The employee files an additional claim against the same employer, and
    • The total amount of damages for both claims is greater than $10,000; or
  • When more than one employee is filing a claim against the same employer within the same civil action, plus:
    • The total amount of the employees’ claims add up to more than $10,000.

One last important detail to keep in mind regarding an employee’s withheld paycheck is that the employee must send a written demand for payment to their employer. Failure to do so will result in forfeiting their right to recover any penalties.

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

Whether the issue involves how often you are paid or the total amount you receive for each individual paycheck, the right lawyer will be able to recommend a few options that can potentially resolve your legal problem. Thus, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your Utah paycheck, you should strongly consider hiring a local Utah employment lawyer as soon as possible.

A lawyer who has experience in handling cases involving Utah paycheck issues will be able to give you guidance on the relevant paycheck laws in Utah state and can apprise you of your rights as a Utah employee under such laws. Your lawyer can also advise you on whether or not you should file a lawsuit against your employer and can offer a professional opinion on what your chances are of winning that lawsuit. 

In addition, your lawyer can also help you to possibly recover monetary damages and other legal remedies that may be available to you based on the facts of your case. Finally, if you need to appear in court or at an arbitration, your lawyer will be able to provide legal representation for either one of these proceedings and many others as well.