Paycheck Law and Legal Definition

Paychecks themselves are not covered any specific federal or state laws. Related laws regulate payroll recordkeeping, but no federal law specifies how often or in what form employers must pay wages to employees. State laws exist, which vary by state, with specific requirements on the timing of paydays and payment upon termination of employment.

Employees must normally be paid not later than their regularly scheduled paydays. 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.

State laws often require that if an employee quits employment, they must be paid within 72 hours after their last day. If an employee is discharged, payment of wages must be made immediately.