An Employee's Last Paycheck
2/2/2012 11:09 AM
The Law. The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) requires the employer to pay an employee her final compensation no later than the employee's next scheduled payday.
“Final Compensation” includes everything the employer owes the emplyee for “wages, salaries, earned commissions, earned bonuses, and the monetary equivalent of earned vacation and earned holidays, and any other compensation owed” to the employee.
Vacation Pay. When an employment contract or policy provides for vacation earned by length of service the vacation time is earned pro-rata during the year. If at termination the employee has earned vacation time that has not been used, the employer has to pay the employee the dollar value of that time. If the employer uses a Paid-Time-Off program that covers vacation and sick time, it has to pay the employee the dollar value of the earned PTO time. If an employer’s policy or an employment contract provides that the employee must use vacation time each year or lose it, the employer must give the employee a reasonable opportunity to use the vacation time.
Bonus Pay. A bonus is earned if the employee met all the conditions required to earn it before termination. For example, it the employee gets a monthly bonus based on sales performance and is terminated after the end of a month during which the employee met the bonus requirements, the employee has earned that bonus.
Individuals can be Held Liable. Any person acting in the interests of the employer and any officers or agents of the employer who “knowingly permit” the employer to violate the IWPCA can be held liable to the same extent as the employer.
What to Do. An employee who does not receive all “final compensation” owed to her can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor or file a lawsuit in county court. With the lawsuit, the successful litigant will get her unpaid final compensation, reasonable attorney’s fees, costs to litigate and damages of 2% of the amount underpaid for each month the final compensation is withheld.
For more information about this and other employee rights topics, please contact the author Brian D. Moore by phone at 630-355-5577 or by email; firstname.lastname@example.org
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