Pennsylvania law requires employers to pay their workers for all hours worked, regardless of whether a company fires a worker for gross incompetence or the worker quits without notice. Most unemployed workers will receive their final paycheck within two weeks of their termination date, depending upon how frequently they received a paycheck. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry enforces pay rules in the state under the authority of Title 43 of the Pennsylvania Statutes and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.
Whether an employee is fired or quits, his employer must pay him his final paycheck in legal U.S. funds by his next scheduled payday. The state of Pennsylvania does not require a business to set weekly, bimonthly or monthly time periods, and they can choose how often to pay their employees. Per Section 4 of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL), employers must outline how often a worker receives pay at hiring.
Pennsylvania employers do not have to pay fringe benefits to employees, such as accumulated vacation and sick days, unless the employment contract outlines the payment of these benefits. If a worker receives vacation pay as part of his final paycheck, these hours are not paid at overtime rates. The employer will notify the worker at hiring whether he will receive benefits upon quitting or termination, per Section 5 of the WPCL.
If a Pennsylvania employer disputes part of the final pay owed to a terminated employee, it can hold on to the portion in dispute but must release the rest of the money owed to the worker. Employers must have a legitimate reason for holding part of a worker’s final paycheck and cannot use the dispute process to withhold a worker’s pay as a form of retribution for poor performance or labor law complaints. Employees who do not receive their final paycheck can submit a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industries or file a private suit to recover damages.
If an employer does not make a final payment of wages within 30 days after the due date of a final paycheck, the employer has to compensate its former employee for the full amount of owed wages plus the greater of 25 percent of the total wages due or $500. The Department of Labor and Industry will fine an employer who violates the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law up to $300, payable to the Pennsylvania State Treasury.
Chris Hamilton has been a writer since 2005, specializing in business and legal topics. He contributes to various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Virginia Tech.