||Ask the Dollar Diva
My paycheck is always late
Dear Dollar Diva,
I recently started a new job at a small company. Everything is fine
except that my paycheck is consistently late. My contract states
that paychecks will be mailed out by the 7th of each month, but
this has not been the case. I talked with other employees and found
that this is an ongoing problem. I'm wondering if there is a law
regarding the right of employees to receive payment for services
on time. Any input would be appreciated. Thank you!
You have a contract with this company, and if it doesn't
do what it said it would do when it signed the contract -- like
mail your check out by the 7th of each month -- it's breaking the
So sue 'em. But wait -- what's your actual monetary
loss? And let's get real here. Bosses hate getting sued by employees,
and there are sure to be repercussions!
| Payroll checks should be delivered on
|Any exception is a red flag.
What you need to worry about: Why are the checks late?
Even with just a few employees, it's almost always
more cost effective to out-source payroll.
Is your company out-sourcing? If so, the
checks are being spit out on time. So why aren't they being
mailed on time? Poor management? Indifference to employees?
Cash flow problems?
Is your company doing payroll in house?
Why? They're not doing a good job. Is it poor management, cash
flow problems, or a disregard for the importance of paying employees
What are your options? Read on.
You love the job and are learning a lot, and it
will be easy to find another job if this company folds:
Live with the late checks like everyone
else, and don't worry about it, or
Talk to your boss, and ask him what's with
the late checks. If he gets huffy, drop it. If he doesn't, ask
him if a letter sent to him or the payroll person requesting
that your check be mailed on time in accordance with the contract
would be a good idea. Maybe no one ever made a formal request
for on-time checks, and that's all it will take to make it happen.
Suggest that your company offer direct deposit
of payroll checks into your personal checking account. It's
extremely easy to set this up, and everybody's doing it. If
they won't -- why not?
In the meantime, start saving some money from each
late check, so if the company goes belly up you don't have to take
the first job that comes along in order to pay your rent.
You're worried that you'll have a hard time finding
a new job if this one doesn't work out:
The Diva doesn't trust companies that mess
with employees' pay. Keep your eyes open for a new job, and
when a good one comes along, take it.
Figure out your bare-bones living expenses
for the next three to six months, and start saving now.
-- Posted: Nov. 30, 1999