What happens when an employer fails to pay an employee’s wages? There can be serious civil and criminal consequences.
The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (“IWPCA”) requires employers to pay their employees in Illinois the compensation due to them within a number of specific days following the pay period in which the compensation is earned. The IWPCA also requires employers to pay all employees who have quit or been terminated their “final compensation” at the time of separation, if possible, or if not, by the next regularly scheduled payday for the employee. “Final compensation” means wages, salaries, earned commissions, earned bonuses, the monetary equivalent of earned (but unused) vacation and holidays and other compensation due the employee.
If an employer violates the IWPCA, the employee can file a complaint in Circuit Court. Successful claimants are entitled to recover legal costs, attorney’s fees and 2% interest from the date the wages were due.
There are also criminal provisions for violations of the IWPCA. An employer that willfully refuses to pay wages or falsely denies the amount or validity of a wage claim can be found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor for unpaid wages totaling $5,000 or less, and a Class A misdemeanor for unpaid wages exceeding $5,000. Additionally, individuals who violate the criminal provisions of the IWPCA a second time in a two-year period may be guilty of a Class 4 felony.
Illinois employers should ensure that pay practices are in compliance with the IWPCA, especially regarding withholdings from employee pay and the handling of an employee’s final paycheck. Other Illinois laws also protect employees.
Employers with questions about company policies, procedures and practices, and employees with questions about unpaid wages, may contact the Employment Attorneys at DeBlasio & Gower LLC for guidance.
To schedule an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys, call us at (630) 560-1123 or visit our website at https://www.dgllc.net
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