If an employee is fired for job performance issues or due to downsizing or if the employee quit voluntarily, the state and federal laws urge the employer to pay the final check within the specified time period. In case of failure to do so, the employee has a legal right to file a complaint against the employer. Though most employers end up in such situations out of mere ignorance, they may have to deal with the consequences if they fail to comply.

Different states follow different laws when it comes to issuing the final paycheck. Furthermore, many states have different deadlines mandating the issuance of final paychecks depending on whether the employee was fired or has quit. For example, if an employee was fired or laid off, the employee may be required to give the final check within 72 hours. If the employee chose to resign, the employer may wait until the next scheduled payday. If the employee gave a day’s notice prior to quitting, he would have to be paid within 72 hours as well.

Departing employees may have to wait for their check in accordance with the rules followed by the state they reside in. In states such as Mississippi and Georgia where no laws on this matter exist, the federal last paycheck law is implemented. The federal law states that the departing employee should be paid on or before the next scheduled payday.

If you have not received your paycheck on the next scheduled payday after leaving a job, you should contact your former employer to remedy the situation. If such attempts fail, it is advisable to contact your local Department of Labor (DOL), Wage and Hour Division office and file a complaint. You may also benefit from the assistance of an employment attorney who might be able to help you with the proceedings.