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Final pay -- when is it due?

Background: I am currently studying to get my SPHR (sr pro in HR) and ran across this last night.....I totally know that states have differing rules, but generally the study is from a federal perspective....

HRCI SPHR Certification Study Guide by Sandra Reed and Anne Bogardus 2012 edition states that "if ee provided 72 hours notice, final payment of all wages due, including unused accrued vacation or PTO must be paid at time of departure".

However, the DOL states on its "last paycheck" page that "Employers are not required by federal law to give former employees their final paycheck immediately. Some states, however, may require immediate payment. If the regular payday for the last pay period an employee worked has passed and the employee has not been paid, contact the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division or the state labor department." In my state, TX it is 6 days if involuntarily term'd and next payroll date if voluntary leave.

Does anyone have any idea where Reed/Bogardus is coming up with the 72 hours rule? (page 209 of the 2012 version)?


  • This is probably based on California requirements or some of the states that have tougher and more defined rules.
    This chart should help.

  • The so-called 72 hour rule sounds like CA. I have worked with firms that are mostly in CA and if you comply with CA rules, it is generally true that you are in compliance with everyone else. So many big employers use CA rules for everyone.

    • The feds say that pay (any pay) is due when the state says it is due. I could argue that absent state law, UCC says 30 days. I have not read anything specific saying UCC cannot apply to payroll. Give the judge a headache if nothing else.
    • There legally is no such thing a vacation/PTO under federal rules. Talking about federal PTO rules is like talking about fed unicorn rules.
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