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 for a free consultation. 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. 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. SB 147 (2023) (“Whenever an employer places an employee on a nonworking status, the wages earned and unpaid at the time the employee is placed on nonworking status are due and payable immediately.“).
- NRS 608.030.
- NRS 608.040. NRS 608.050.
- NRS 608.195.
- 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.