Don't Delay When Paying a Departing Employee

Don't Delay When Paying a Departing Employee Sergey Tryapitsyn

Yes, you know it’s important to pay employees, and that applies even when they quit or are fired. A recent class action filed against Apple Inc. alleges, among other things, that the company didn’t give employees who were leaving their final paychecks in a timely manner, according to Julie Brook in a post on the CEB blog.

Here are her tips, according to California’s rules, for when to dole out the dough on departure:

  • If someone is fired: Pay them! Immediately! “If an employer discharges an employee, the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately at the place of discharge,” notes Brook. She says there are some seasonal work exceptions, but even those require payment within 72 hours.
  • If someone is laid off: Brook says that the California labor commissioner’s position is that when someone is laid off, without being given a return date, they’re essentially terminated immediately, and thus must be paid immediately.
  • If someone quits: When an employee who isn’t under contract quits, his or her final check depends on timing. If 72 hours’ notice was given, a check must be paid on the final day of employment; if less than 72 hours’ notice was given, the employer has that amount of time to still issue a check, says Brook.
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