Private employers in Nevada have a strict deadline for giving former employees their final paycheck:
- If the former employee was fired or laid off, payment must occur immediately.
- If the former employee quit, payment must occur within seven (7) days or by the next scheduled payday (whichever occurs first)
Employers who miss this deadline owe their former employees wages for each day they go without their final paycheck (for up to 30 days). Employers also owe Nevada a $5,000 administrative fine for failing to pay former employees on time.
Former employees who are owed their final paycheck can seek payment by:
- filing a claim with the Nevada Labor Commissioner (in some cases) or
- suing the employer in civil court
If the employee sues and goes to trial, the court may even order the employer to pay punitive damages as punishment for withholding pay.
In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada labor law attorneys discuss:
- 1. Deadlines to pay final paycheck to former employees
- 2. Vacation and sick pay
- 3. Employer penalties for not paying final paychecks on time
- 4. Legal action to recover a final paycheck
The deadline for a private employer to pay a departing employee depends on whether the employee was discharged or resigned:
When an employer terminates a worker, the employer is obligated to give him/her the full and final paycheck immediately.1
This final paycheck should include all the wages and any other compensation that the employee has earned since the most recent paycheck. The employer may withhold a portion of the wages only for tax purposes and/or for reasons the employee agreed to (such as healthcare payments).
When an employee resigns, the employer is obligated to give him/her the full and final paycheck by the earliest of the following two dates:
- the next regular payday, or
- within seven (7) days of the employee quitting2
This final paycheck should include all the wages and any other compensation that the employee has earned since the most recent paycheck. The employer may withhold a portion of the wages only for tax purposes and/or for reasons the employee agreed to (such as a corporate savings plan).
Nevada law does not require employers to provide paid vacation or sick leave (though employers that have 50 or more workers must provide at least 40 hours of paid sick leave). Employees who do get paid vacation and/or sick time through their employer may be able to get compensated for their unused days/hours when they quit. It depends on the specific terms of their employment agreement.
A common way to determine the value of leave pay is to multiply the employee's unused vacation or sick hours by his/her hourly wage. So if an $11-an-hour employee resigns with 10 hours of unused vacation time, then the employer may have to pay the employee an extra $110 ($11 wage times 10 hours).
Employers who fail to give former employees their full and final paycheck have to pay them up to 30 days wages. In addition, they have to pay the state $5,000 in fines:
Once three (3) days pass from the time an employer was supposed to pay the terminated employee, the employer owes the employee his/her normal wages for every day the employee goes without the final paycheck (for up to 30 days).3
As long as an employer is trying to pay the final paycheck on time, the employer does not have to pay extra wages if the former employee is purposely hiding in an effort to get more pay without working.
Note that the Nevada Labor Commissioner will fine the employer $5,000 for being late to pay a terminated employee.4
When an employer neglects to pay a quitting employee on time, then the employer must pay the employee normal wages for every day he/she goes without the final paycheck (for up to 30 days).5
As long as an employer is trying to pay the final paycheck on time, the employer should not have to pay extra if the former employee is purposely hiding in an effort to get the full 30 days of wages.
Note that the Nevada Labor Commissioner will fine the employer $5,000 for being late to pay an employee who quit.6
Former employers who never receive their final paycheck -- or receive it late -- can consider either:
- filing an unpaid wage claim with the Nevada Labor Commissioner, or
- suing the employer in civil court
If the employer rejects the former employee's good faith effort to resolve the matter privately, the former employee can then file a wage claim online with the Nevada Labor Commissioner. The claimant should include all relevant documentation, including:
- resignation letter or "pink slip"
- time logs
- recent pay stubs
- witness information
The Commissioner should then look into the claim and try to get the employer to comply with the law. Depending on the case, the Commissioner may even hold a hearing and issue a binding order on the employer that courts would be required to uphold.
Note that the Labor Commissioner does not try to recover back pay from more than two (2) years ago. So workers are encouraged to file their claims as soon as possible7
A more aggressive tactic than filing a wage claim is suing the employer in civil court. Employees are strongly advised to retain an attorney to represent them because the law is extremely complicated.
Being sued might compel the employer to settle and pay the final paycheck plus interest. Otherwise, the employee ("plaintiff") may be able to recover the following compensatory damages at trial:
- the final paycheck amount plus interest,
- attorneys' fees, and
- court costs
If the judge believes that the employer maliciously withheld the final paycheck, the court can even order the employer to pay punitive damages. Depending on the case, punitive damages can exceed compensatory damages by up to three times or more.8
Call a Nevada labor law attorney...
Does your former boss still owe you your last paycheck? Or was your boss late in getting the paycheck to you? Then call our Las Vegas employment law attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consult. We may be able to file a lawsuit and fight for not only your final wages but hefty punitive damages as well.
Work in California? See our article on California final wage payment laws.
NRS 608.020 Discharge of employee: Immediate payment. Whenever an employer discharges an employee, the wages and compensation earned and unpaid at the time of such discharge shall become due and payable immediately.
Attorney General Letter 81-9 (9-24-1981). (NRS 608.020 - NRS 608.050 do not apply to the state when acting as an employer.).
- NRS 608.030 Payment of employee who resigns or quits employment. Whenever an employee resigns or quits his or her employment, the wages and compensation earned and unpaid at the time of the employee's resignation or quitting must be paid no later than:
1. The day on which the employee would have regularly been paid the wages or compensation; or
2. Seven days after the employee resigns or quits,
--> whichever is earlier.
- NRS 608.040 Penalty for failure to pay discharged or quitting employee.
1. If an employer fails to pay:
(a) Within 3 days after the wages or compensation of a discharged employee becomes due; or
(b) On the day the wages or compensation is due to an employee who resigns or quits,
--> the wages or compensation of the employee continues at the same rate from the day the employee resigned, quit or was discharged until paid or for 30 days, whichever is less.
2. Any employee who secretes or absents himself or herself to avoid payment of his or her wages or compensation, or refuses to accept them when fully tendered to him or her, is not entitled to receive the payment thereof for the time he or she secretes or absents himself or herself to avoid payment.
NRS 608.050 Wages to be paid at termination of service: Penalty; employee's lien.
1. Whenever an employer of labor shall discharge or lay off employees without first paying them the amount of any wages or salary then due them, in cash and lawful money of the United States, or its equivalent, or shall fail, or refuse on demand, to pay them in like money, or its equivalent, the amount of any wages or salary at the time the same becomes due and owing to them under their contract of employment, whether employed by the hour, day, week or month, each of the employees may charge and collect wages in the sum agreed upon in the contract of employment for each day the employer is in default, until the employee is paid in full, without rendering any service therefor; but the employee shall cease to draw such wages or salary 30 days after such default.
2. Every employee shall have a lien as provided in NRS 108.221 to 108.246, inclusive, and all other rights and remedies for the protection and enforcement of such salary or wages as the employee would have been entitled to had the employee rendered services therefor in the manner as last employed.
NRS 608.195 Criminal and administrative penalties.
1. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 608.0165, any person who violates any provision of NRS 608.005 to 608.195, inclusive, or 608.215, or any regulation adopted pursuant thereto, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
2. In addition to any other remedy or penalty, the Labor Commissioner may impose against the person an administrative penalty of not more than $5,000 for each such violation.
NRS 608.040; NRS 608.050.
- NRS 608.195.
- See Forms for Employees, State of Nevada Department of Business & Industry Office of the Labor Commissioner.
- NRS 42.005.