In Pennsylvania, workers have protections and a method to enforce the payment of their paychecks under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law. This is an employment law that employees can use to secure the payment of compensation and wages that they are owed from their employers. While the law does not create a substantive right to be compensated, it does establish a mechanism by which you can enforce the payment of compensation to which you are entitled. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler are available to help workers to collect the paychecks that they are owed.
What are wages under the WPCL?
Under the WPCL, wages are all of your earnings as an employee regardless of the type of calculation method that your employer uses. In addition, wage supplements and fringe benefits are also part of your wages under the law. These include such things as unpaid vacation time, separation pay, holiday pay, and other amounts that should be paid under an agreement.
Covered employers and employees
The WPCL covers firms, associations, partnerships, persons, and other agents or officers of a company. To be considered to be an employer under the law, an officer or agent must have been actively involved in policy or decision making.
Employees are not specifically defined by the WPCL. The law does not cover independent contractors. However, some employers misclassify workers who should be considered to be employees as independent contractors. The employer’s classification will not be determinative. Instead, the court will consider the following factors to determine whether the worker should be considered to be an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of the WPCL:
- Whether the employer controls how the work is performed
- Terms of agreements
- Nature of the job
- Degree of independence
- Whether the worker has a distinct business
- How payments are made
- Whether the employer is able to fire the worker at any time
When wages are due
Under the WPCL, employees whose employment is terminated or who resign or quit their jobs must be paid their earned wages and compensation no later than the next payday. If the employee and the employer have a dispute about the amount that is owed, the employer must give the employee a written notice of the amount that the employer agrees is due and must pay the undisputed amount by the next payday. An employee who accepts a partial payment that is made in this manner retains his or her right to seek the disputed amount.
Right to sue
Employees and groups of employees who are owed wages are allowed to file lawsuits to recover the wages that they are owed along with their costs and attorneys’ fees. If the wages have not been paid for longer than 30 days after the regular payday, the worker may also recover liquidated damages of 25 percent of the total that is due or $500, whichever is higher.
If your former employer has failed to pay you the wages that you are owed, getting legal help may be important. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler may be able to recover the money that you are owed. Contact us today for a free consultation.