Can my company withhold paying me because I'm late entering my timesheet?
December 2, 2010 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Can my company legally withhold my paycheck for the previous pay period until I fill out and submit my timesheet for this pay period?

Anonymous cause its work related.

I get paid twice a month. I'm a salaried employee. I have direct deposit of my pay set up. I live in Virgnia. My company is based out of Detroit.

We're required to enter our time worked on specific projects or tasks on an online timesheet system. Our timesheet is to be submitted no later than the 1st or the 16th [the day after the pay period ends].

Today is the 2nd of December and I haven't filled and submitted out my timesheet for 11/16 through 11/30 yet. My accounting director emailed me and several other people, threatening that this was our 1st of 2 allowable late offenses, and that after 2 offenses direct deposit of the previous period's pay (in this case, 11/1 through 11/15) would be disabled (and I'd get a paper check instead). AND that they will hold the paper check until the timesheet is in.

Are they allowed to do this? I know they can pay me however they want (direct deposit or paper check), but are they allowed to withhold paying me for 11/1-11/15 until I tell them my hours worked for 11/16-11/30?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Virginia wage code says:

A. 1. All employers operating a business shall establish regular pay periods and rates of pay for employees except executive personnel. All such employers shall pay salaried employees at least once each month and employees paid on an hourly rate at least once every two weeks or twice in each month, except that (i) a student who is currently enrolled in a work-study program or its equivalent administered by any secondary school, institution of higher education or trade school, and (ii) employees whose weekly wages total more than 150 percent of the average weekly wage of the Commonwealth as defined in 65.2-500, upon agreement by each affected employee, may be paid once each month if the institution or employer so chooses. Upon termination of employment an employee shall be paid all wages or salaries due him for work performed prior thereto; such payment shall be made on or before the date on which he would have been paid for such work had his employment not been terminated.

C. No employer shall withhold any part of the wages or salaries of any employee except for payroll, wage or withholding taxes or in accordance with law, without the written and signed authorization of the employee. An employer, upon request of his employee, shall furnish the latter a written statement of the gross wages earned by the employee during any pay period and the amount and purpose of any deductions therefrom.
posted by Zophi at 11:06 AM on December 2, 2010

If you want the definitive answer to this, you'll need to consult an employment lawyer in Virginia.

But off the cuff, though withholding employee paychecks is pretty hard to do, doing it because the employee isn't submitting timesheets is probably one of the better reasons one could come up with.
posted by valkyryn at 11:09 AM on December 2, 2010

It might be illegal, but what does it matter? It looks like this is their way of getting your attention without firing you. I don't think this is the hill you should die on. Just fill out the time sheets.
posted by grouse at 11:12 AM on December 2, 2010 [10 favorites]

Honestly, I don't see how they can pay you if you don't tell them your hours.
posted by theichibun at 11:13 AM on December 2, 2010

Did you sign an employment contract when you started working there? Zophi's C above says that withholding is allowed with your written and signed authorization -- it's possible you authorized this in your employment contract.

But if you are worried, definitely contact a Virginia employment lawyer.
posted by brainmouse at 11:15 AM on December 2, 2010

Honestly, I don't see how they can pay you if you don't tell them your hours.

They are threatening to withhold pay for a previous pay period where he submitted his hours two weeks ago.
posted by grouse at 11:17 AM on December 2, 2010

Ah, glossed over that somehow.
posted by theichibun at 11:19 AM on December 2, 2010

Yeah, I'm assuming you have to fill out timesheets so they can bill clients for your work. It's a huge pain when people don't do timesheets because the company can't bill properly and if the company can't bill properly, the company can't make money. And if the company can't make see where this is going. Fill out the timesheets.
posted by sweetkid at 11:20 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

They are threatening to withhold pay for a previous pay period where he submitted his hours two weeks ago.

Not only that, but he's salary anyway, so the actual timesheet wouldn't appear to affect the check. The timesheet, I'm assuming, is just for records.
posted by rhizome at 11:41 AM on December 2, 2010

IMNAL by a long shot, but have friends who work in HR. As I understand it, if you're salary and classified as an exempt worker in terms of overtime and whatnot. withholding pay because of issues with time tracking could violate the exempt status which could have significant tax ramifications for your company. If you're willing to get into that sort of pissing match, that may be a tactic for calling their bluff. Of course, turning in your time card is probably easier.
posted by Morydd at 11:50 AM on December 2, 2010

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