Every state has its own laws that protect the rights of workers to receive wages for hours worked. Generally, your employer must pay you on a specified pay day and cannot post date your check. However, even if your employer does post date your check, you can often negotiate your check on the day that you receive it.
Most states have laws that require your employer to pay you at least once or twice a month. In many instances, paydays fall on the same day each month, and many employers use the 15th and the last day of the month as paydays. However, if payday falls on a weekend or federal holiday, your state laws may require your employer to give you a paycheck before the normal payday. You may have to wait to cash the check until after payday since your payday falls on a day when banks are closed. In such an instance, your employer did not post date the check for a date after payday, but you could not cash your check until after payday.
In many states, including California and Hawaii, your employer cannot post date your payroll check. Furthermore, in California your employer must write the check against a bank that does not charge a check cashing fee. California law states that your employer must pay you on payday in full and partial payments are illegal. Other states have similar laws but these laws do not address issues relating to bank holds. If your employer writes payroll checks on an out of state account, your bank may hold your check for up to seven business days. Therefore, your employer did not post date the check, but you could not access funds on payday.
Some states such as Oregon have less strict payday laws. In Oregon, if your employer makes an error and underpays you, if the withheld amount does not exceed 5 percent of your wages, then your employer can wait until the next payday before paying you the remainder of your wages. Additionally, Oregon law states that your employer must pay you at least once every 35 days. Therefore, laws in states such as Oregon do not allow for post dating of checks but do enable your employer to delay paying you in other ways.
If your state's laws do allow your employer to post date paychecks, or if you receive your paycheck before payday, you can still attempt to cash it. Federal and state banking laws do not prevent banks from cashing checks prior to the date printed on the check. In some situations, you can sue your bank for damages if a bank employee cashes a check prior to the date written on it but bank employees do not violate any laws when they cash post dated checks.
- Banking Questions; Cashing a Check Dated for Tomorrow; August 2007
- California Wage Lawyer: Paying with Out-of-State Payroll Checks and Payroll Bank Cards
- State of Oregon: Pay Checks
- State of Hawaii: Payroll Debit Card Plans
- Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks: Answers about Cashing Checks