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Final Paychecks

Getting Paid for Work

This article covers your rights to your final paycheck in Texas.

Here, learn about Texas laws that ensure employees receive their final paycheck on timewhether they're laid off or resign. This article also examines how independent contractors differ in terms of compensation rights.

If I leave my job, what are my rights to my final paycheck?

You have a right to your final paycheck, but the scope of that right depends on whether you left involuntarily (laid off, discharged, fired, etc.) or quit.

Involuntary separation from work: Texas Labor Code 61.014 specifies that an employer must pay in full an employee who is involuntarily let go by the employer (laid off, discharged, fired, etc.) no later than the sixth day after removal.  

Voluntary separation from work: If the employee decides to leave of their own will (quits, retires, etc.), the employer must pay the employee by the next scheduled payday. 

What is the Texas Payday Law?

The Texas Payday Law outlines procedures for paying wages and when the employer is allowed to deduct wages without the employee’s permission. This does not include working for government entities. Anyone who performs a service for compensation is considered an employee unless they are an independent contractor or a close relative. 

What types of payments are included in the payday law?

  • Payment for completed services without regard to how they are computed. 
  • Commissions and bonuses of the agreement between employer and employee 
  • Some fringe benefits that were from a written agreement or from a policy of an employer. 

What is a wage claim?

As laid out in Texas Labor Code 61.051, an employee can file a wage claim if they were not paid their proper wages for time worked. But, a wage claim cannot be filed if more than 180 days have passed since the payment became due. 

There are multiple ways to file: 

  1. In person at the office of the Texas Workforce Commission 
  2. Mailing in the claim  
  3. Faxing the claim  
  4. Electronically in a way allowed by the commission 
  5. By any other way adopted by the commission.

When can an employer deny you your final paycheck?

An employer can deny you your final paycheck or deduct amounts other than taxes from it in certain situations. 

Under Texas Labor Code 61.018, an employer cannot deduct or withhold wages unless: 

  1. It is ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction (such as court-ordered child support) 
  2. It is authorized to do so by state or federal law (such as IRS withholdings); or 
  3. It has written consent from the employee to deduct part of the wages for a lawful purpose. These cannot be too vague or broad. 

Deductions for out-of-pocket loans to an employee must be authorized in writing to be allowed as a deduction. 

What happens when you still have company property after you leave your job?

If an employee still has company property at the time of separation, an employer may only withhold or deduct wages if they are authorized to do so by law, required to do so by a court, or have written consent from the employee to do so. Outside of the exceptions, the employer must use other ways to regain company property. 

What happens with independent contractors' final paychecks?

The Texas Payday Law only applies to employees and not an independent contractor relationship 

To figure out if you are classified as an employee or independent contractor, read Independent Contractor Status.

How and when an independent contractor is paid depends on the contract made at the outset of the project. 

If an independent contractor is not paid according to the contract, then they can sue for breach of contract. 

Who can help me get my final paycheck?

Talk to a lawyer to confirm whether you can make a claim under the Texas Payday Law with the Texas Workforce Commission

Use TexasLawHelp's Directory to find legal help.

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