As an employee, you provide work for your employer in exchange for pay. You go to every day. You look forward to paydays so you can enjoy your hard-earned money. Sadly, some workers do not receive their wages on time. There are even instances when employees are not paid at all.
Different countries have different laws when it comes to employee wages. However, employers are required by law to pay their employees for their services. Payment must be based entirely on the time and work done by the employee and should be paid on time.
Knowing your rights as an employee is essential. Getting informed prevents you from being taken advantage of. Some of the fundamental rights of employees include:
- Fair treatment. Employees are entitled to fair treatment. This type of treatment means employees must be able to:
- Be free from any physical, emotional, or sexual harassment.
- Be paid on time for the services they rendered.
- Experience trust and respect from employers and co-workers.
- Have access to their information and records.
- Work in a safe working environment.
- Minimum wage. The minimum wage varies, depending on which state or country the employees work. Some minimum payments may be higher than others. What is important is that employees receive salaries that are not below the minimum wage.
- Regular payment. Payment of wages must not be delayed. Employees have the right to receive their payment in full. Payment must be on a regular basis, based stipulated payment schedule – monthly, bi-monthly, weekly, or daily. Employers can state the cut-off period and inform the employees of the payment schedule.
- Overtime pay. In case an employee works more hours than they’re scheduled to do, they are entitled to overtime pay. The amount may be hourly. Overtime rates still vary and will depend on the company’s location and policy.
Employees may be entitled to additional rights, but they depend on the country they live or work in. They must be aware of the underlying labour laws in their state and country so they can avoid falling prey to abusive employers.
How to Claim Unpaid Wages
Employees sometimes experience unpaid wages due to several reasons. Some employers withhold employee wages when the latter resigned, failed to render stipulated service, and required to redo the job done. However, the law prevents employers to withhold employee wages.
You are entitled to unclaimed wages if:
- You rendered a service but were not paid. You provided the work that was required from you but your employer still withheld your wages.
- Your pay was less than the hours you worked. You completed the number of hours as stipulated in your agreement with your employer and were paid. However, the total amount was lesser than what was agreed upon.
- You were paid but the check bounced. You were paid in full but were paid in check. When you deposited it, the check bounced. You have to inform your employer right away and request to be paid in another method instead.
- Your employer is paying you below the minimum wage. You can claim the difference as long as you provide enough proof.
Employees whose wages remain unpaid may file a complaint against the employer to claim their overdue salaries. There are some helpful tips to claim unpaid wages:
- Determine the reason why the employer has not paid you yet. There is a reason why you weren’t paid the full amount. However, as someone who benefited from your hard work, the company must compensate you. You need to find proof that they are withholding your pay. Some of the red flags when employers do withhold their employees’ wages are:
- Withholding salary without the employees’ consent. Employers do not have the right to withhold salaries without asking for the employees’ permission. However, employers can deduct from employee salaries the mandatory contributions as stated by the law.
- Withholding salaries to punish the employee. If the employee left the company on bad terms or he or she violated company policies, employers are still not allowed to withhold the salaries as a form of punishment. Those who provided their services to the company is still entitled to full payment.
- Final paycheck. Usually, employees withhold salaries when they resign. However, they must still be paid for the services he or she delivered. The company must compensate the employees even if he or she already left.
- Provide proof that you were unpaid despite rendering service. You, as an employee, must provide evidence if you want to file any claim. You can collect your pay slips, timesheets, and other related documents that can show that you worked for the period when the wages were unpaid.
- Contact your employer about your wages. Ask your employer if you can already get your wages. Be polite but firm. If your employer does not wish to pay you back, it’s time to seek legal counsel.
- Seek legal help from a lawyer. Select a lawyer who has a background and experience in handling cases involving claiming unpaid wages. Your lawyer will help you prepare for the claim. He or she will give you advice on how you will approach, talk, and negotiate with your employer.
- File a formal complaint. If you already have enough proof and the required paperwork, you can finally file a claim against your previous employer.
Employees have the right to be paid for their work. It would be unfair to them if they could not claim the wages that they deserve. Therefore, if you are an employee who remained unpaid for your services, you may click here so you can ask a lawyer to help you file a case.
Brenda Smith is best known by her readers as someone who offers a modern take on common law topics. Brenda keeps herself fit and healthy by working out during her free time.
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