What Is the Law in Texas for Getting the Last Paycheck After Being Fired?

by Grace Ferguson

The Texas Payday Law –which the Texas Workforce Commission administrates – governs final-paycheck laws in Texas. If you were fired from your job in Texas, your employer must pay you your final wages within six days of your termination date. If you are due final wages, your employer cannot withhold your paycheck.

Inclusions

Final wages includes regular wages, fringe benefits that your employer agreed to pay you under an established policy and any other forms of compensation. All of these wages are due within six days of your separation date, unless a wage agreement or policy says otherwise. In the presence of a wage agreement or policy, the conditions in the agreement or policy apply.

Bonuses and Commissions

If your employer agreed to pay you a bonus or commission, it must abide by the terms if you're terminated. The Texas Workforce Commission strongly advises properly-worded written agreements for bonuses and commissions, but both verbal and written agreements for bonuses and commissions are enforceable in Texas. If you received draws against your commissions, your employer gave you advances against the amounts you were expected to earn in future commissions. Your employer can subtract draws against bonuses or commissions from your final paycheck.

Accrued Vacation

In Texas, an employer must pay out an employee’s unused vacation time upon her termination if company policy mandates it. For example, company policy says only employees who resign with at least two weeks’ notice or are laid off should receive accrued vacation payout. This means you would not receive a vacation payout if you were fired.

Failure to Sign Time Sheet

Your employer cannot withhold your final paycheck if you failed to sign your time sheet before leaving the company. Both Texas and federal law require that employers keep records of employees' work hours via a timekeeping system. If necessary, to determine your exact pay, your employer should refer to its timekeeping records.

Company Property

If you failed to return company property, such as uniforms, equipment or store inventory, your employer can pay your final wages at a lower wage if you signed a wage agreement. With a wage agreement, your employer cannot make certain deductions from your final pay if they will cause your pay to drop below the minimum wage. In this case, if you failed to return company property, depending on the amount of the item, your employer might have to absorb the cost. A property return security deposit agreement allows your employer to withhold a certain amount from your paychecks. Your employer keeps the withheld amounts in an escrow account to pay for company property entrusted to you. In this case, when you are terminated, your employer uses the money in the escrow account to cover the loss of the item.

Wage Claim

If your employer refuses to pay you your final wages, you may file a wage claim with the Texas Workforce Commission. You can access the form via the agency’s website. You must have the form signed and sworn before a notary public or a representative of the Texas Workforce Commission. Attach a copy of your most recent pay stub or paycheck to your claim before mailing or faxing it to the agency. File your claim by the 180th day that follows the date the unpaid wages were due.

About the Author

Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.

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