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Department of Labor

Payment of Wages

Generally, employers must pay manual workers each week. Payday must be no later than seven days after the end of the week when you earned the wages.

Nonprofit organizations may pay manual workers twice a month if that is their agreement.

Under certain conditions, a large business may ask the State Labor Department for permission to pay its manual workers twice a month.

On or before each Thursday, railroad employees must receive the wages earned up to the Tuesday of the week before.

Commission salespeople must receive wages, salary, drawing account, or commissions at such times as provided in the employment agreement, but they must be paid at least once a month and not later than the last day of the month following the month in which the money is earned. If a salesperson receives monthly payments of wages, salary, drawing account, or commissions that are substantial, additional compensation such as bonuses or "incentive" earnings may be paid at such times as agreed by the employer and salesperson.

Office workers and all other employees must receive their pay at least twice a month.

The only legal deductions from wages are those:

  • Required by law(Social Security contributions and income taxes)
  • That benefit you, which you authorize in writing:
  • Payments for insurance premiums, pension benefits, contributions to charitable organizations, U.S. bonds, union dues, and similar payments

An employer may not deduct the cost of breakage or spoiled materials from your wages, or charge you for being late. The law does not allow the employer to require payback for shortages separately. 

It is against the law for your employer, or anyone, to demand or accept any part of your wages for you to get or keep your job. No one can demand or accept any part of your tip earnings. (This does not apply to hat checking.)

 For special functions such as banquets, where they add a fixed percentage to the total bill for tips, the law permits the employer to collect the tip.  The employer must distribute this money among service personnel only. 

A waiter may choose to share tips with a bus boy or similar employee.

Payment of Tips Received By Credit Card & Cash

When tips are given by customers via credit card, the employer must pay the employee the amount due no later than the next regularly scheduled pay day. The employer may subtract from the employee's tips the pro-rated share of the charge levied by the credit card company. An employer remitting tips to an employee must include a breakdown between the tips and the wages on the employee's wage statement, which must meet all other requirements for wage statements. This position reflects a change in DOL policy as set forth in DOL opinion RO-08-0032 related to this issue. That opinion is hereby rescinded.

When customers pay tips in cash, employers may, as a service to their employees, allow employees to leave cash tips earned over the course of a pay period with the employer. The employer must issue a tip payment for the total amount of those cash tips along with any wage payment for the same pay period. A request by an employee for the employer to provide this service must be voluntary, and the agreement cannot be a pre-condition of employment or a condition of continued employment. The employer must still keep a daily record of the tips earned by each employee provided this service, and have those records available for inspection by the employee and/or the Department. The wage statement provided with the tip payment must contain a breakdown of tips and wages, and meet all other requirements for wage statements.

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