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What are unpaid wages and why do they matter?

| Jan 25, 2021 | Employment Law

There are many Sherwood area residents who work jobs that pay them hourly. These employees rely on their jobs to pay the bills and provide for their families. But when an employee has been denied wages by their employer for any reason, they may have legal options.

What are unpaid wages?

An employee in Oregon is entitled to fair compensation. There are times when an employee is not paid correctly according to the law. Wage issues can include:

  • Employer requiring employee to work off the clock without compensation.
  • Employer failing to provide meal breaks.
  • Employer failing to pay wages owed to terminated employee.
  • Employer forcing employees to work off the clock during breaks.
  • Employer failing to pay overtime to hourly employees.
  • Failing to pay employee commissions.

If an employer has notice that an employee has not been paid the full amount they are owed and there is no disputes about wages they have two options:

  • If the unpaid amount is less than 5% of the employee’s gross wages, then the employer will pay the missing amount on the next paycheck.
  • If the unpaid amount is more than 5% of the employee’s gross wages, then the employer must pay the employee the missing wages within 3 business days.

Employment law attorney

If a person believes they haven’t been paid correctly they may want to contact an attorney who specializes in wage and hour law. While it can be intimidating to confront an employer regarding missing wages, an employee has the legal right for unpaid wages and penalties. The laws that protect an employee provide for substantial penalties for violation of wage requirements. An attorney can review the circumstances surrounding the unpaid wages and help their client get the money they are owed along with additional sums allowed by law, including penalty wages, interest, and attorney’s fees.