Tennessee Paychecks: What you need to know

Wages include all amounts due for labor or service performed by an employee for which the employee has a reasonable expectation of payment. Wages include vacation time earned by the employee. Wages may be fixed or determined by time, job, piecework, commission, or any other method.
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Private employers of five or more employees must pay employees at least semimonthly as follows (TN Code Sec. 50-2-103):
• Wages earned and unpaid before the first day of the month must be paid by the 20th day of that month.
• Wages earned and unpaid before the 16th day of any month must be paid not later than the fifth day of the succeeding month.
Employees absent on paydays. Employees who are not at their regular workplace on paydays must be paid when they return and ask for payment.
Deceased employees. Employees may pay a designated beneficiary wages due at the time of death. If no beneficiary is designated, employers may pay the surviving spouse or dependent children of a deceased employee wages due at the time of death up to $10,000 without a court order (TN Code Sec. 30-2-103).
Tips and gratuities. If a restaurant, lounge, bar, or private club includes a specific dollar amount as a gratuity or service charge on a customer's bill, payment must be made to the employee on the day the service charge is collected if the bill is paid in cash or at the time the employee is usually paid if the bill is paid by credit card. This rule does not apply to bills for food or beverages at a banquet, convention, or meeting facility separate from the general public. These payments may not be reduced to penalize an employee for conduct on the job. Violation of this rule is a misdemeanor (TN Code Sec. 50-2-107).
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