Everyone looks forward to payday, no matter how much you’re earning. However, you may not be getting everything you deserve if your employer wrongfully withholds wages. Below are some red flags that could indicate your check may not reflect your total rightful compensation.
Inaccurate hours and rates
Inaccuracies in basic information, like the number of hours you worked, can be an obvious red flag.
When reviewing your paychecks, pay close attention to things like the hours and your pay rate. If either is inaccurate, including if you worked overtime hours but were not paid at the correct overtime rate, call attention to the mistake immediately and seek to have it corrected.
You aren’t getting breaks
Does your employer require you to complete work-related tasks during your breaks? Federal, state, and local laws allow workers to have adequate breaks, rest periods, and meals. However, these rules vary depending on where you work, your schedule, and your industry. If your employer requires you to work during breaks, you may be entitled to wages for that time. If you aren’t getting breaks during or between shifts, but your paycheck says you are, your employer may be violating your rights.
You see deductions you did not approve
Does your check indicate your employer docked your pay for some reason, such as deductions for uniforms? Did you approve of these deductions?
Employers sometimes make unapproved deductions or wrongfully withhold wages. These deductions may be used as a form of discipline, or to cover costs that should be the employer’s responsibility. Unauthorized deductions can be illegal, and may give rise to a valid claim for wage theft.
You didn’t get paid
Perhaps the most glaring issue with a paycheck is when you don’t get one. Employers are required to pay employees’ wages in full and on time, including the employee’s final paycheck.
If you spot an issue with your paycheck or you aren’t getting paid in the first place, address the problem with your employer or with Human Resources immediately. If they are unresponsive or do not correct the issue, you can consult an attorney to pursue legal remedies.