Employment law is an umbrella term which refers to a broad range of legal issues associated with employees, employers, and safety conditions in the workplace. Some employment laws cover employment discrimination, while others are utilized to provide guidance when creating company policies or employee handbooks.

The overall intention of employment law is to protect all of those who are part of the workforce. Some examples of what this means include, but may not be limited to:

  • Establishing protection for employees when disputing with a coworker, an employer, or a company;
  • Ensuring that businesses do not discriminate against prospective job candidates or current employees;
  • Granting certain rights to individuals who are self-employed, or who are considered to be independent contractors; and
  • Ensuring that volunteers and interns do not encounter sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation in the workplace.

Labor laws vary widely by jurisdiction. The rights offered and protected by one state may not be available under the laws of another state. Additionally, some issues may be governed by both state and federal employment laws.

The United States Department of Labor, or “DOL,” exists to ensure the fair treatment and wellbeing of employees and retirees. This is accomplished by improving working conditions, as well as ensuring work related rights and benefits. Additionally, the DOL assists those who are job searching, and helps employers find prospective employees.

As a regulatory department of the federal government, they have the authority to create federal regulations that have been deemed necessary to creating and enforcing labor related laws and policies that have been enacted by Congress. Each state has its own departments of labor.

What Are Paycheck Laws?

One of the subjects addressed by labor laws would be how employees are to be paid. Paycheck laws vary widely from state to state, as some states adhere only to federal laws while others have created their own paycheck laws at the state level.

An example of this would be minimum wage. Federal minimum wage must be adhered to by all states, but some states have instituted a higher minimum wage which must be adhered to by employers of that state. Paycheck laws may be referred to as wage and hour laws.

Wage and hour laws are what govern the basic standards for minimum wages, as well as overtime pay in the workplace. The principal wage and hour law in the United States would be the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Among other provisions, the Act covers:

  • Minimum Wage, as the FLSA sets standards for the wages that are to be paid to employees;
  • Overtime Pay, as the FLSA states when and who is eligible to receive overtime pay; and
  • Child Labor Protection, as the Act also contains provisions which protect children from child labor.

Employers are legally required to adhere to the rules set out in the FLSA. Failure to do so can result in legal consequences, and could lead to wage and hour lawsuits filed by affected employees.

What Are Utah’s Paycheck Laws?

Utah has its own specific paycheck laws which apply to employers, employees, and independent contractors. These paycheck and employment laws have set forth specific mandates, such as those determining the following:

  • When Paychecks Must Be Sent Out: Utah paycheck law requires that all private employers pay non salaried employees at least semi monthly. Paychecks must be distributed within ten days of the close of each pay period; or, on the preceding day if the payday is on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday. Employees receiving a yearly salary may be paid monthly. However, this can be no later than the seventh day of the month, following the day in which the pay was earned;
  • Minimum Wage: Utah’s minimum wage law mirrors federal minimum wage law, which is $7.25 per hour. Employees who are under the age of 20 years old, and are still within their 90-day training period, are to receive a rate of $4.25 per hour. Tipped employees, such as servers, make $2.13 per hour. As previously mentioned, failure to pay employees the proper amount or on time can result in a wage and hour claim. Filed claims are intended to resolve disputes associated with payment amounts, wage rates, and other aspects;
  • Overtime: Utah does not maintain its own laws on overtime. Rather, the state adheres to the FLSA which requires that any hours worked beyond forty hours per week must be paid at 1 and ½ times the usual hourly rate. Additionally, the state does not have any limits on mandatory overtime; meaning, an employer can require an employee to work as many hours as they request; and/or
  • Paid Time Off: Under both federal and Utah law, military members can leave their job for active duty and have the right to return to that exact position. They cannot lose any benefits or seniority for leaving. Beyond that, Utah employers with more than fifty full-time employees must adhere to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), only if they engage in interstate commerce.

What Happens If You Are Fired In Utah? Can You Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

According to Utah labor law, when an employee is fired from their job, their unpaid wages become due immediately. The employer must provide the employee with their final paycheck within 24 hours of the time of separation. Failure to do so will result in the wages of the employee continuing from the date of demand until paid, at the same rate received by the employee at the time of separation. However, this is not to exceed sixty days.

What this means is that the employee can be paid, even if they are not physically working, until they receive their paycheck. However, Utah’s rule is different if the employee quits their job on their own volition. In such cases, they would be provided with their paycheck on the next regular pay period.

Utah does not have any state law determining what becomes of unused vacation time when an employee is fired from their job. This would depend on whether the subject was outlined in the employer’s company policy. If there is no policy, the employer is not responsible for the vacation time that the employee did not use after being terminated.

Under Utah law, there are no events which would allow an employer to entirely withhold a final paycheck. Employers are required to pay the employee their due wages under all conditions. If an employee is somehow unable to obtain their final paycheck from a former employer, they should contact the Utah Workforce Commission in order to file a claim against the employer.

Can Your Paycheck Be Garnished In Utah?

In terms of whether a Utah employer can garnish an employee’s final paycheck, they may only make deductions that are required under federal or Utah law. An example of this would be taxes or court ordered garnishments, or deductions that the employee themself has specifically authorized in writing.

However, Utah law does limit how much creditors can garnish an employee’s wages. Garnishment is generally intended to repay debts such as unpaid taxes, child support, or settlements. Utah wage garnishment laws are considered to be strict in comparison to federal wage garnishment laws.

Utah law states that creditors can take only up to 25% of wages if they wish to garnish for unpaid debt. However creditors can take more than the limits set for the following unpaid debt:

  • Unpaid income taxes;
  • Court ordered child support; and
  • Student loans that are in default.

Do I Need an Attorney For Help With Utah Paycheck Laws?

If you are an employee working in Utah, and you are experiencing issues related with Utah paycheck laws, you should consult with an experienced employment attorney in Utah. An experienced and local employment attorney will be most familiar with Utah’s laws, and how they will affect your legal options.

An employment lawyer will also be able to determine whether you have a claim for unpaid wages, what your legal options are. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.