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What can I do to collect unpaid or withheld wages?

When workers are not paid their wages, they can suffer serious financial consequences. Wages may not be forthcoming for a variety of reasons on the part of the employer, but some employers may not be aware that withholding wages and benefits that are due an employee is a misdemeanor.

The Department of Labor helps workers collect wages and benefits they are due when they did not receive minimum wage. The worker has to file a claim and then Labor Standards will investigate the claim. In addition, the agency will work to collect on claims of illegal deductions. Employers that take kickbacks or tips from workers can also find themselves in trouble with Labor Standard.

Claims for unpaid wage supplements are also investigated by the Labor Standards. These include:

-- Paid sick leave

-- Holiday or vacation pay

-- Expense reimbursement

-- Other similar items

Employees must be notified by employers about the company's policy on vacation, sick leave, holidays, personal leave and hours of work. This is required to be given to employees in writing or posted where everyone can see it.

If you want to complete a claim for unpaid wages, then you will need to fill out form LS 223. This can be used for claims regarding:

-- Wages that were not paid for all the hours you worked

-- Pay for training

-- A paycheck that couldn't be cashed

-- Tips that were kept by your employer

-- Didn't pay you minimum wage

-- Didn't pay you overtime for the hours over 40 that you worked

-- Other instances of unpaid.

If you cannot get the money you are due from your employer, you may want to contact an experienced employment lawyer in New York. He or she can provide you with the legal options you have.

Source: New York State Department of Labor, "Wage and Hour Law," accessed May 04, 2016

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