Money Honey If Ya Wanna Get Along With Me
October 24, 2012 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Is it illegal for my employer to withhold wages from me? "Delays" in "processing" pay changes have gone on for weeks.

On October 2, my employer told me, in writing, that I was to receive a raise and an increase in hours effective Monday October 8. I reported for work, and have now worked two weeks with the new schedule. The paycheck for this biweekly period is tomorrow, October 25. (October 8 was also the first day of that pay period, so there is no pro-rating or partial periods to worry about)

Because my company has botched payroll issues in the past (too few hours on check, takes months to get reimbursed; retroactive changes to salary promised, takes months to get reimbursed; expense account reimbursements, same), I called my manager on Monday to have her check with the payroll department to make sure that they had the changes in the system and they were going to issue the right amount.

She notified me today that they weren't: not only is my check not going to reflect the raise in pay, but it won't include the hours either (for which I punch in digitally online)!

My electric company has a really awful exchange rate for smiles in USD and it's not as if I don't have all of the work hours, and my employer's promise for the wages and hours altogether, in writing.

Can I report this to the BBB? If so, how should I approach it in a way that won't make things worse for me at work? How can a change like this take weeks to establish in the payroll system? Even in that case, why can't the payroll department just cut me a check?
posted by herbplarfegan to Work & Money (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
THe Better Business Bureau has nothing to do with this. You should call your State Dept. of Labor.
posted by thelonius at 12:20 PM on October 24, 2012

Labor Relations Board, Department of Labor.

Also, escallate to someone in HR, tell them to manually cut you a check for the correct amount of money. This isn't cute.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:22 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Filing a Workplace Rights Compaint
posted by griphus at 12:22 PM on October 24, 2012

OK thanks for the clarification.

Is my employer doing anything illegal?
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:23 PM on October 24, 2012

Here's the page about payment of wages inWashington State and includes information on who to contact to file a complaint or discuss whether a complaint is in order.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 12:23 PM on October 24, 2012

Often payroll checks reflect the pay period BEFORE the most recent pay period. So it is likely the check you will be receiving will cover the period up to and ending on October 7th, and your NEXT check will be the first to reflect your raise and increased hours.
posted by fancyoats at 12:29 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

And since no one else has mentioned it, update your resume. It's neither normal nor acceptable for these kinds of issues to occur, and your employer is either criminal or criminally incompetent. Start looking for a better place if you haven't already. Even if they straighten up on this go round, who knows what else they'll pull?
posted by emjaybee at 12:30 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

fancyoats- when you say that happens often, do you mean that the next paycheck not only reflects the raise, but includes compensation for the discrepancy on the previous one?

What was agreed on was on effective wage on a certain date.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:37 PM on October 24, 2012

No, I mean that there may, in fact, be no discrepancy at all, since the raise was to be effective October 8th, and the previous pay period ended October 7th, and you may be getting the check that covers up to October 7th. The next check will cover the October 8th-25th pay period. When I say that it happens often, I mean that my last two jobs paid me on that kind of schedule.

Pay Period A
Pay Period B -- At the end of Pay Period B, receive the check covering Pay Period A
Pay Period C -- At the end of Pay Period C, receive the check covering Pay Period B
Pay Period D -- At the end of Pay Period D, receive the check covering Pay Period C

And so on. Sometimes, it is even staggered one more layer. Check your pay stubs, it should indicate which Pay Period they are covering.
posted by fancyoats at 12:49 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

A lot of payroll systems can't handle mid-pay period changes to rate of pay. This results in lots of places holding all paperwork to the next pay period. Even if your change is effective the first day of the pay period there can still be system limitations that force them to hold the paperwork until the next pay period. You're probably stuck with this. You next paycheck should include retro pay to cover the difference

The hours change is a different matter. If you're punching in/out, they should be paying you based on that. Your scheduled hours shouldn't enter in to it. Your manager should be able to review your hours in the time collection system. Have her check that to see how many hours you've got for the last pay period. Then you should call payroll and make sure all of those hours are on this check.
posted by cnelson at 12:54 PM on October 24, 2012

fancyoats- thanks for clarifying.
I checked. The delay is only for one period-- this check should actually reflect the pay period I've been discussing.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:05 PM on October 24, 2012

She notified me today that they weren't

Did you ask her why? Did you ask her how to fix the problem?

You should be talking to your manager and your payroll department, not us or the BBB.
posted by kiltedtaco at 1:22 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, you should find out exactly what time period each check covers. For example, one place I worked had twice monthly paychecks. The days from the 1st to the 15th were paid on the 20th, and from the 16th to the end of the month was paid on the following 7th. My current job pays the 1st - 15th on the 30th, and from the 16th - 31st on the following 15th.

In the future, keep track of all your hours yourself, and verify each check's correctness. You'll be paid correctly, and if you end up having to request a correction, you'll have documentation to show what you are saying. Payroll might think you are a pain in the ass, but that is their job, and it's not one of those "everyone makes mistakes" kinds of things.
posted by gjc at 3:47 PM on October 24, 2012

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