Has your business ever had to reissue payroll checks? Have you wondered about any laws or regulations that might dictate timelines for the reissue of these checks? Here are some details.
There are plenty of regulations, federal and state-to-state, that govern how often employees are to be paid. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that all employee pay checks are distributed within the timelines set forth by state and federal dictates. When it comes to distributing a replacement payroll check, however, there’s no universal guideline on how quickly this needs to be done.
Dealing with lost checks and expired checks
All checks have dates by when they must be cashed. If a payroll check is lost in the mail, or if the recipient – for whatever reason – neglects to cash the check within the allotted time period (180 days is common), the employer likely will be called upon to reissue that check.
No clear mandates exist on how long an employer has to reissue a payroll check. Notwithstanding, it’s always in a company’s best interest to send out replacement checks as soon as possible after notification of a lost or expired check. For example, in New York, California and some other states, employees who don’t receive their checks can file a claim against their employer.
In a case where a company check bounces, it’s even more critical to make quick restitution to avoid legal or other hassles. Ideally, your company should have within its payroll policy guidelines the specific steps to take (and the amount of time these steps should take) in the event of a bounced or otherwise un-cashable payroll check.
Many professional accountants and payroll specialists suggest including information about the reissue of checks in the paperwork or manual given to each employee upon being hired. By doing this, you provide reassurance to an employee who failed to receive his or her check within normal timelines. You also cover yourself by communicating clearly what your policy is regarding the reissue of payroll checks.
The bottom line is, employees must be paid. Whether it’s a worker who was discharged or quit or an employee in good standing, people expect to receive compensation for their efforts. A smart company will create a policy that allows for the reissue of lost checks in a timely fashion.
Another thing a smart company will do is make sure that management is familiar with any state laws that exist surrounding all aspects of payment to employees. Doing everything “by the book” will decrease the likelihood of problems down the line.
Cotton Mather is a professional accounting and payroll firm located in Pittsburgh. We assist small business of all types with a variety of services from accounting and bookkeeping to tax preparation and planning. Visit our website, or call (412) 931-1617 for more information.