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final paycheck question Massachusetts

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  • final paycheck question Massachusetts

    My situation feels complex to me, but I think my question is simple. I was home sick with pneumonia when I got a call from the owner of the restaurant where I was the assistant general manager. I was fired. It was a Friday and we had just gotten paychecks on Thursday. I asked, "Was the last paycheck I got my FINAL paycheck?"
    "No, I'll pay you for one more week."
    Essentially that would be the week that was just ending.
    It's my understanding that I should have been presented with my final check at the time of my involuntary termination.
    Given that I wasn't, and I assume that I'll be getting paid in the normal pay period (two weeks) I have to that illegal?
    For many other reasons I feel that my dismissal was unfair, but this is the first concrete reason I have to take issue with it legally.
    Can anyone help?
    Thank you!

  • #2
    In Massachusetts, the following rules apply:

    If employee is fired: immediately.

    If employee quits: next scheduled payday or the Saturday following the employee's resignation, if there is no scheduled payday. (Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 149 148.)


    • #3
      So if I did not get the check immediately - as the law would indicate I should- then
      1. what is my recourse?
      2. is there any penalty for not complying with the law?

      Thank you!


      • #4
        I'd first suggest making the request with your former employer. If your efforts are fruitless, you may make an unpaid wage claim with you state's Attorney General Office (


        • #5
          and vacation?

          Thank you.

          A follow up question. There was never a literal job description, nor an outline of compensation/benefits. A managerial peer has received pay for 120 hours of vacation. I never took a vacation in the year that I was employed. I was out with pneumonia (again, no policy on sick pay) for a week before I was terminated.

          Do I have any right to request any amount of vacation compensation?


          • #6
            If it was a established practice to provide vacation benefits, then my understanding is that it doesn't make any difference whether there was a written policy or not. There's an old cliche that says "Practice makes Policy".

            In any case, we would have no idea whether this employer actually made a practice of accruing vacation and paying it out at termination, or this situation with the other ex-employee was simply a "gift". The employer is the only one who is going to be able to tell you that.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


            • #7
              The other employee is not an ex (yet...she has just given notice) and the vacation time was paid throughout her employment (I did payroll). In other words, she took time off throughout her employment and always received the same paycheck/salary. There were several other managers at my level who took liberal time off and I never submitted payroll for less than 80 hours for anyone (we were paid bi-weekly).

              Does that still put the compensation in the gray area of possible "gift?" Or because it was not a lump sum payout, put it in the realm of "practice?"