What is the Wage Payment and Collection Act?The Wage Payment and Collection Act governs timely wage payments to employees in Illinois and the deductions employers can make from paychecks. Here are a few facts you should know about the Act:
- Private employers are covered, but state and federal employers are exempt from the Act.
- Individuals and independent contractors who fulfill the legal definition of independent contractors cannot make any claims under the Act. If an employer classifies an employee as an independent contractor, that does not exempt him/her from the Act. An inquiry can determine whether the employee is an independent contractor or not.
- The Act only covers work that is done in Illinois. For instance, an employee who lives in the state but travels across the U.S. for work is typically not covered. A Waukegan workers' compensation lawyer can help you determine if you are covered and the wages you can recover.
What You Can Do If Your Wages Are WithheldHere are some things you can do if you think your wages have been withheld unfairly by your employer:
Speak With Your Employer FirstAsk your employer about owed wages first. Perhaps HR made an error on your paycheck or overlooked you by mistake. If your employer deliberately holds back the money he/she owes you as retaliation against you, you have the right to sue. Make sure you note down everything you discuss with them. A Waukegan workers' compensation lawyer can use it as proof if you file a complaint.
Contact the Illinois Department of LaborIf you think your wages are being held back illegally, file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). Just make sure you file it a year from when you last worked with the employer or a year from when the wages are owed. The good news is that the process is free. At this point, you don’t need a Waukegan workers' compensation lawyer.
To file a claim with IDOL, fill out the online form. You will have to create an Illinois Public ID first. It will help you use official state websites for critical information regarding your case.
When you file your complaint, make sure you include any evidence showing you are owed wages. This includes copies of time cards and paychecks that show that you have not been paid or were paid less than what you were owed as per your hourly salary.
Don’t worry if you don’t have those documents. Since it is your employer’s responsibility to maintain pay and time records, you can get them from HR. Plus, also make sure to update IDOL post complaint if you move or change your phone number.
Keep in mind that there is a time limit when it comes to filing complaints with IDOL. The Department can only investigate the three years before the date that you file your complaint. It will impact the amount you recover. For example, if you file your complaint after ten years of getting little to no wages from your employer, you can only recover wages from the last three years and onwards.