Can an employer keep your paycheck claiming that you owe them money?

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Can an employer keep your paycheck claiming that you owe them money?

I was a school bus driver and my employer took my last 2 paychecks when I resigned saying I owe them money for paid snow days. Nowhere in my contract did it state I would have to pay them back for paid snow days if I left before the end of the year. I did not agree to them keeping my money. Since this happened more snow days were forgiven by the state and will not have to be made up so they have taken more money than what I was paid for snow days as well.

Asked on June 7, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, absent a written agreement allowing for the withholding of your paycheck, your employer's action appears to be illegal. The fact is that an employee must be paid for all hours worked. If your employer feels that you owe them for paid snow days, then it can ask you to voluntarily pay back the money or it can sue you in small claims court. Specifically, in Mi, overpayments of wages etc. can only be deducted by an employer without a worker's written consent if 1) the deduction is made within 6 months of the overpayment; 2) the overpayment resulted from a miscalculation, typo or other clerical error; 3) the employer gave the employee a written explanation of the deduction at least 1 pay period prior to its having been made; 4) the deduction was not more than 15% of the gross wages earned for the pay period; and 5) after all other required/authorized deductions were made, the deduction for the overpayment did not reduce the employee's hourly gross pay rate for that period below the minimum wage.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, absent a written agreement allowing for the withholding of your paycheck, your employer's action appears to be illegal. The fact is that an employee must be paid for all hours worked. If your employer feels that you owe them for paid snow days, then it can ask you to voluntarily pay back the money or it can sue you in small claims court. Specifically, in Mi, overpayments of wages etc. can only be deducted by an employer without a worker's written consent if 1) the deduction is made within 6 months of the overpayment; 2) the overpayment resulted from a miscalculation, typo or other clerical error; 3) the employer gave the employee a written explanation of the deduction at least 1 pay period prior to its having been made; 4) the deduction was not more than 15% of the gross wages earned for the pay period; and 5) after all other required/authorized deductions were made, the deduction for the overpayment did not reduce the employee's hourly gross pay rate for that period below the minimum wage.


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