Wage Payment and Collection Law

Many people are not aware of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (“WPCL”). The Law provides powerful remedies for those who have not been paid wages otherwise due. Wages include all earnings of an employee regardless of whether determined on a time, task, piece, commission or other basis. Wages also include certain benefits such as wage supplements, fringe benefits, vacation pay, reimbursement of expenses, dues, and similar payments.

While the WPCL does govern instances where an employer has failed to pay a current employee in a timely manner, it is more often used where employment has been terminated or an employee has resigned and subsequently does not receive his or her wages through last day of work. In that case, all wages or compensation must be paid not later than the next regular payday on which such wages would otherwise be due and payable. It should be pointed out that this Law does not provide any rights to recover wages to which one is not otherwise entitled. Rather, it provides convenient and meaningful remedies to compel prompt payment by the employer.

While a disgruntled employee may seek relief through the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, an important aspect of the WPCL is the right to institute a private civil lawsuit to recover all wages as well as to seek attorney’s fees and statutory penalties which may be available under certain circumstances. Also, the WPCL provides the right to demand that the employer post a bond, which can be important in cases where the solvency of the employer is questionable. In that regard, the WPCL further provides an opportunity to assert liability against the individual partners, officers, directors and other parties involved in the management and operation of the company.

We have found that employers act promptly and reasonably once reminded of their potential liability under the WPCL. Where an employer continues to withhold wages wrongfully, it is important to know that there are effective remedies available to compel payment of wages and similar entitlements.
– Curt Ward

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