Employees often ask when their employer is required to pay them for the hours they worked after they have been terminated or leave the job. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer because Florida law generally does not specify a timeframe for payment. So, how does an employee get the wages they are owed if the employer fails to pay? Employees may have the following options:
- Wage Theft Statutes. Some counties and other local governments, like Hillsborough County, have enacted wage theft laws that allow employees to bring claims when the employer unlawfully holds their pay. For example, under Hillsborough County’s ordinance, if an employer has not paid an employee’s wages within a reasonable amount of time—defined as “at least 14 calendar days from the date on which the work is performed”—then there is a recovery process employees can go through to try to get their pay. Consult an employment attorney to see if there is a wage theft ordinance in your jurisdiction.
- File a Complaint with the Department of Labor. An employer’s failure to pay wages for work performed in any work week may violate the federal and/or state minimum wage laws. Employees can file a complaint with the Department of Labor (DOL), which will investigate and try to get your wages paid if there is a violation of federal law.
- Go to Court. If one of the above steps do not work, an employee has the option of going to court to recover their unpaid wages (or minimum wages). If the employee wins, the employer may be liable for not only the employee’s wages owed, but sometimes double damages and even attorney’s fees and costs.
If you are owed wages, do not delay as your options to pursue these claims are time sensitive. Still have questions? We urge you to seek out an experienced employment attorney to discuss your options.