The Code of Virginia, which is the state’s statutory law, has a whole section law titled “Protection of Employees,” which contains several laws intended to protect the rights and interests of employees and even their paychecks. If you have worked for your wages and are not receiving them then you have the right to fight against your employer. Knowing what the law is and what rights you have is the first step in resolving your paycheck issues.

When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out?

In Virginia, how often you are paid depends on your pay basis. Hourly employees should be paid at least twice a month or every two weeks. However, hourly employees may consent to be paid on a monthly basis instead if they are a student enrolled in a work-study program or they earn per week more than 150 percent of the state’s weekly wage as determined by the Virginia Employment Commission. Salaried employees are required to be paid at least once a month. Employers can choose to pay you more often than this if they want, but they do have to meet the legal minimums.

What Happens If I Am Fired?

Whether you were fired or you quit will not make a difference as to when you can expect your last paycheck. Following termination of your employment, you should receive any owed wages by the next payday. Any unused vacation or sick benefits should be paid out only if it is your company’s policy to do this. If you think you are owed compensation for unused paid time off, then you need to carefully look at your employment contract or company handbook before demanding it from your former employer.

Can My Paycheck Be Garnished?

Employers are permitted to deduct money from your paycheck automatically, but only when they are required to do so by law, such as deducting taxes or mandated by a court order. Otherwise, your employer can only take money from your paycheck if you provide them with written permission to make the deduction. Additionally, your employer cannot garnish your wages for till shortages or to pay for damage that you inflicted to property wile working, even if you authorized the deduction in writing.

Even though your wages cannot be garnished to pay off work-related debts, they can be garnished for personal debts. Garnishment can happen without a court order specifically allowing garnishment for child support, unpaid taxes or defaulted student loans. For other personal debts, your creditor has to go to court first and get a court judgment against you. Once your creditor has a judgment, they can have your wages garnished to pay off that debt.

Can I Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

Virginia law expressly forbids employers from holding onto an employee’s earned paycheck under any circumstances. If all of your wages for a pay period are being withheld, you possess the right to recover your paycheck. As an employee, you can contact the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Labor and Employment Law Division and ask for their help in getting your unpaid wages from your employer. For wrongfully withheld paid time off, you will need to bring a lawsuit against your former employer to recover that money.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

Your employer can require you to cover the cost of uniforms or tools out of your own pocket, so long as purchasing these items does not mean you will be receiving less than minimum wage for a pay period once you take the money out of your paycheck to pay for them. Also, if your job has a required medical or drug test before being hired, then your employer can ask you to pay for that as well.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

You should contact a Virginia employment lawyer about getting the money you are owed if your employer has been holding out on you in regard to your wages. Getting help from a lawyer should help you resolve your dispute faster and easier.