Making Employees Wait for Pay Because of Failure to Follow Policy

We are a large California health-care provider with a continual problem with employees failing to complete the required paperwork for timekeeping. Thank goodness I am not responsible for payroll, but this is an overall HR issue. We have employees who fail to submit the required paperwork in time for payroll processing. Paperwork including sick time requests, time clock correction sheets, etc. The employees come up short on their paychecks and then demand a manual check be issued mid-cycle. We are beginning to appropriately counsel and discipline for failure to follow timekeeping policies, but what we really want to do is make them wait to be paid until the next paydate. I have posed the question to the state DLSE to receive their guidance, but have rec'vd conflicting answers. We have many "complaint-ready" employees who are very quick to file w/the state, so I need firm answers. Any case law with which you are familiar?


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 10-02-02 AT 03:45PM (CST)[/font][p]Felicia: I'll eat my hat if there's case law finding that an employer must cut manual checks if employees fail to properly submit the required information timely enough to meet the payroll cycle. Our policy requires that a manual check be cut anytime the problem is 'our' fault. Otherwise, you wait until the next payroll cycle. But, as you know, it'll depend on your particular state's laws.
  • I have heard it said that if you know that a person is at work then you are required to pay him even if they have not followed company policy regarding paperwork. Given that premise, you have taken a proper approach by disciplining employees for failure to follow your established procedures. Unfortunately, that has not resolved your problem. This is one of those situation in which we often find ourselve, i.e., people do not modify their behaviors as needed until it truely affects them. Holding back the pay until the paperwork is completed would certainly affect them, but I think that it could get you into trouble under wage and hour laws as reflected in my first sentence.

    I found the following excerpt from the Calfornia wage laws which I got from BNA -- "In case of wage dispute, undisputed amount must be timely paid. Employee acceptance does not constitute release of claim. (L § 206, as last amended by Ch. 312, L. 1975)" This appears to say that you may be able to argue that you have a dispute regarding the need to pay wages if you have inadequate records. This may be an argument that you could use to fight the "if you know that they are there you pay them" principle.

    Not sure if this helps any, but it's what I found.
  • Employees who do not submit time sheets must be paid the amount they would "normally" work and an adjustment may be made (if needed) the next pay period.
  • I agree 100% with Don on this one. We do the same thing. If employees miss punches and don't notify their supervisors to make exceptions, they are paid according to the payroll records. We don't cut manual checks if employees miss payroll deadlines.

    As far as knowing if a person is at work or not, it might work in small organizations, but when you get 100's of employees, it's not possible to know who is where's not HR or Payroll's responsibility to track people down to pay them. That's the purpose of a time clock.

    Again, I would address as disciplinary if I was a supervisor and had to keep making exceptions to an employee's time because of their irresponsibility. Otherwise, they would have to wait until next pay period if they miss payroll deadline.
  • Njjel is correct, and the California Labor Code citation is Labor Code 204. The specific words are "Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, all wages earned for labor in excess of of the normal work week shall be paid no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period." This section takes care of overtime, but it is silent regarding complications caused by sick pay etc. Maybe this is where you test the waters. Treat these complications in the same way and if you get hauled in front of DLSE, argue that you are using the same principle that is in the Labor Code. If you lose, then you will know when you have to cut manual checks and when you don't.
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 10-03-02 AT 11:40AM (CST)[/font][p][font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 10-03-02 AT 11:39 AM (CST)[/font]

    Gillian: I disagree and feel that the wording you quoted does not at all address the issue of hours that are unknown to the employer because the requisite reporting by the ee is dilinquent. The labor code surely (?) doesn't say "Hours worked, whether known or unknown to the employer....". On the other hand, the wording suggests to me that the question regarding the 'on demand manual check' is dispensed with by allowing/requiring the employer to pay on or by the next subsequent pay date.
  • Thank you to everyone for their input. I rec'vd a response back yesterday from a supervisor at the DLSE and in citing section 204, all conceded wages are to be paid. Thanks again...
Sign In or Register to comment.