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What happens if my employer doesn't pay my final wages?

Whether you decide to quit your job or are discharged by your employer, you still have the right to your final wages. Every state has particular guidelines in effect for the time period in which an employer must pay their employees or face penalties. In Minnesota, employers have up to 20 days after your final day of work to pay you your final wages, but it should occur on the next scheduled payday, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. You should get your wages within 24 hours of asking in the case that you are fired or otherwise dismissed from your job.

Most employers work hard to abide by these regulations, and if for some reason they do not, they will quickly respond to a request to pay you. However, if you find that you do not receive your final wages within this time frame, you do have recourse. You only have two years before the statute of limitations expire. In extreme cases, you can go to court. However, it is probably best to start with writing a letter to your former employer requesting your final paycheck.

If you do go to court, most claims are handled in small claims court. However, if the combined total of the penalties and wages exceeds $10,000, then the case will be handled by the district court. In the case of a court claim, you might also be due additional wages for the days your employer was late in paying for up to 15 days. The wages are calculated based on your average daily wage.

The other recourse you have is to file a wage claim. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has a Labor Standards unit that handles wage claims. You will need to provide certain information to process the claim, including your contact information and that of your employer, as well as details about the ending of your employment and any contact you have made to try to get your paycheck. This typically occurs after you have contacted your employer and still not received your final wages. This information is only intended to education and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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