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Paychecks: What you need to know

What is a paycheck? Employers must pay wages in cash or its equivalent, and direct deposit is gaining in popularity as a convenient method for paying wages. The payment of wages is regulated by federal and state law. In addition to the method of payment, state laws also regulate how frequently employees must be paid. Many states have laws regarding the payment of wages upon the termination of employment, including accrued vacation, and these rules often differ depending on whether the termination is voluntary or involuntary. If there is a dispute about wages, the employer must pay the employee what it concedes is due. The employee may file a wage claim with the Commissioner of Labor to collect any remaining wages he or she believes are owed. State and federal law also require that employers maintain certain records related to payroll and that those records be available for examination by the Department of Labor (DOL) on a 72 hours' notice. Employers must post an official wage and hour notice in the workplace.
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There is no federal law that sets out how often or in what form employers must pay wages to employees. Almost all states have specific requirements on the timing of paydays and payment upon termination of employment.
According to federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a workweek is a period of 168 hours during seven consecutive 24-hour periods. A workweek may begin on any day of the week and at any hour of the day established by the employer. Generally, for purposes of computing minimum wage and overtime, each workweek stands alone, regardless of whether employees are paid on a weekly, biweekly, monthly, or semimonthly basis. Two or more workweeks cannot be averaged.
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State Requirements

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming |

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Record retention is complex and time consuming. However, in addition to complying with various federal and state laws, keeping good, well-organized records can be very helpful in documenting and supporting an organization’s employment actions.
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