How long must we wait to be paid?
June 16, 2010 11:14 AM   Subscribe

WV EmploymentFilter: Asking for a friend. Can a WV employer legally require you to wait 12 weeks before receiving your first pay check?

So my friend took a student job (but not work-study) with a certain major state university.

He was told he would have to wait 6 weeks for his paperwork etc. to be processed and for him to receive his first paycheck. He accepted that.

However, on the day he expected his first direct deposit, it didn't come. On investigating, it turned out the department employing him didn't send his paperwork to the payroll department, and now he's being told he will have to wait out another 6 week (!!) processing period.

That means he'll have been working 12 weeks without receiving pay.. that can't be legal, right?

As an aside, is even a 6-week waiting period legal?
posted by teatime to Work & Money (12 answers total)
He needs to call the WV Department of Labor on this.
posted by FergieBelle at 11:18 AM on June 16, 2010 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: We're considering it, and did find a relevant FAQ entry on their site, but I'm not sure it applies to first paychecks (perhaps just normal paychecks being late).

I think we're gonna quote that in an email and insist on an immediate paper check, and if they stick by their guns on 12 weeks, then we'll contact WV DoL.

I'm still curious as to whether it's actually legal or not... how long is an employer allowed to make you wait?
posted by teatime at 11:21 AM on June 16, 2010

I am not a lawyer and don't know WV law, but it can't possibly be legal. In CA you have to be paid within 15 days of doing the work.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:26 AM on June 16, 2010

your university has a human resources department, set up a meeting with them. I would be extremely surprised if this was anything more than a bit of a fuckup on his manager's part.

If you need help, go to your Student Legal Services office - on-campus, and provided for students for these types of purposes.
posted by Think_Long at 11:32 AM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I first worked for WVU it took me 12 weeks to get my first paycheck, because that's how backlogged the system was. Last I heard they had it down to 4-6 weeks. Even getting your work study checks was taking 4-6 weeks last I heard, but that was a few years ago.

I dunno if it's legal or not. I know when you're fired/quit they have to have your money for you in 48 hours. I would, in the following order:
-contact the department administrator
-contact the department head
-contact university HR
-contact the provost or president's office.

If it's WVU, you're welcome to shoot me a memail. I may or may not know anybody in the given department.
posted by TomMelee at 11:46 AM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

it turned out the department employing him didn't send his paperwork to the payroll department, and now he's being told he will have to wait out another 6 week (!!) processing period.

I do not know, but I would be surprised if a 12 week delay is legal. It certainly is not your friend's fault, and the university should correct the issue.

It sounds like a bureaucratic tangle and, almost certainly, there is someone at the university who can untangle this for your friend. I would try talking to the department head and, if that doesn't work, the University Ombuds. This may be faster than going through the DoL.
posted by zippy at 11:46 AM on June 16, 2010

Next door in VA, I used to work for a company that paid once per month, 3 weeks in arrears. So I got paid on June 21 for the month of May. If you started on the first of a month, you would go 7 weeks before you saw a paycheck.

I can believe it is perfectly legal for a private business to have those terms. If you don't like them, don't take the job. I wouldn't be surprised if there are prohibitions against the government doing it though.
posted by COD at 11:50 AM on June 16, 2010

I can believe it is perfectly legal for a private business to have those terms. If you don't like them, don't take the job.
If only there was some sort of "state and federal government" to regulate what private businesses can or cannot do. Wait...

What Does The West Virginia Wage Payment And Collection Act Require Of The Employer?

* Have a payday at least once every two weeks. (Does not apply to railroad companies by special arrangement.)

posted by drjimmy11 at 11:58 AM on June 16, 2010

I had something like this happen once when I was in school - in that case it wasn't work study (because it was something I was uniquely qualified for), but I had to go through the work study approval process and be told I wasn't eligible before I could be paid. In the end the university notified me upon my graduation that my "legal claim to live in the village was not valid, yet, taking certain auxiliary circumstances into account, I was permitted to live and work there."

No, wait, that was the protagonist in The Castle.

In the end, I got paid more or less right before the end of the year, which meant summer began with a bang. It would have been a lot less ammusing if I needed that money to get by.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:30 PM on June 16, 2010

I employee students at a university, but in a different state. Normally they will not be in the system for the first pay day after they are hired, but will be by the second. That is assuming that everything is handled by me and my business manager correctly. If one of us screwed up we would have to call HR with our tail between our legs and explain the screw up in order to get it expedited. My guess is that your friend's manager could do this but doesn't want to. First, s/he should ask the manager nicely if there is any way around the problem. If the answer is no then s/he should call HR.
posted by nestor_makhno at 1:58 PM on June 16, 2010

The longest I've ever gone is just shy of 5 weeks, for a certain employer, on whose account I later got a tiny tiny piece of a settlement for (unrelated) egregious employment practices. We did four weeks of training and then started work and at the end of the pay period where we started working, we got paid for the training and the work. I was eating a lot of ramen those last two weeks, and I only lasted 60 days at the job (again, settlement for egregious employment practices.) Ohio law (which governs) has a similar rule to WV's (semi-monthly instead of every two weeks.)

Check the relevant bargaining unit agreement, or if it's a non-union job, the employment terms undoubtedly given at hiring.
posted by SMPA at 6:21 PM on June 16, 2010

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