Under Wisconsin’s laws that govern wages, your employer has various obligations to you with regards to your paycheck. If you are not receiving the money you have earned at the time when you should be receiving it, then you should read carefully about the laws that apply to you. As an employee, these laws impart many rights to you.

When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out According to Wisconsin Law?

Wisconsin law requires that the majority of both hourly and salaried employees to be paid at least monthly. Employees working on farms or for logging operations may be paid quarterly instead of once per month. Of course, employers can elect to pay you more often than monthly or quarterly, so long as the paydays are regular.

What Happens to My Paycheck If I Am Fired in Wisconsin?

If you have been terminated from your job, or you chose to quit, you must receive your final paycheck by the next payday or within 31 days, whichever comes first. However, if you lost your job because the company merged, relocated, or liquidated, you should get your final paycheck within 24 hours.

Whether you receive unused paid time off in your final paycheck depends on company policies. You are entitled to a payout for unused paid vacation time, unless there is a specific policy that says you do not get that amount.

That reason may be because you did not give enough notice before quitting, or you were fired for a good cause. Ultimately, it completely depends your employer’s policies, so you should examine your company policies very closely.  

Can My Paycheck Be Garnished Under Wisconsin Law?

Money can often be garnished from your paycheck to pay off personal debts; however the creditor seeking the money may have to obtain approval from the court first to get it. A creditor does not need to obtain a judgment from to court to garnish your paycheck in certain situations, including defaulted student loans, past-due child support, or unpaid taxes.

If a creditor is seeking to collect for another type of personal debt, such as unpaid credit card or hospital bills, they have to go to court first and get a court judgment. Once the creditor has secured the court judgment, they can garnish your income to pay off the debt.

If you have caused damage to company property, or are responsible for a cash shortage at your work, then your employer can automatically deduct that amount from your paycheck in two instances:

  1. First, the employee can agree in writing to allow their employer to make the deduction; and
  2. Secondly, the employer may automatically deduct the monetary amounts following determinations made by them, along with a representative chosen by the employee, that the employee caused the damage. The damage must be caused through willful conduct, negligence, or carelessness. Otherwise, the employer will only be able to secure the money by going to court and suing the employee.

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Can I Recover a Withheld Paycheck From a Wisconsin Employer?

You have a right to receive your paycheck, so you can fight to have your money if your employer is withholding your pay. An option that you have to get your full paycheck is to file a Labor Standards Complaint Form with the Equal Rights Division’s Labor Standards Bureau of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. However, you must wait for 6 days until you can file.

You have 2 years from when the wages were earned to file your complaint (as opposed to when they should have been paid). Otherwise, you can file a lawsuit and go after your unpaid wages in court.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Wisconsin’s Paycheck Law?

There is no law in Wisconsin preventing an employer from requiring that an employee pay for uniforms or tools. On the other hand, an employer cannot ask an employee to pay for any required medical or drug testing before starting a job. Also, if there are any specific terms in an employment contract that were negotiated, these will need to be reviewed in order to see how they might affect an employee’s pay rights.

In addition, Wisconsin employers are prohibited from any form of employment discrimination towards their employees and future employee candidates. They are not allowed to withhold paychecks or take other similar actions based on an employee’s race, sex, age, religion, nation of origin, political views, or other characteristics. Discrimination violations are processed through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC will conduct an investigation into the workplace violation, and will prescribe the appropriate legal remedy. If the EEOC’s remedy is not sufficient or satisfactory, the affected employee or employees may need to file a private lawsuit to obtain a damages award.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer for Issues with My Paycheck in Wisconsin?

It is vital that you consult with an employment lawyer in Wisconsin if your employer is preventing you from receiving the wages that you rightfully earned. A lawyer can explain to you what your rights are in your situation, and can help you determine how to get the paycheck you deserve.