Question: Our employees often don’t turn their timesheets in on time. If an employee doesn’t submit his sheet on time, can we delay processing his paycheck until the next pay period?
Answer: It is the employer’s obligation to pay employees on the established payday regardless of whether a timecard has been submitted. There is no exception to the law that allows an employer to withhold payment until the timecard has been turned in. When you don’t have a timecard, you can comply with the law by paying all of the wages that you reasonably know are due for an employee’s regularly scheduled work period.
Normally, overtime pay earned in a particular workweek must also be paid on the regular pay day for the pay period in which the wages were earned. You may, however, delay payment for overtime wages that can’t be determined until after the regular pay period. The delayed payment of overtime wages earned in one payroll period must generally be no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period.
You can certainly discipline employees for failing to accurately record and report their time, particularly if you have a written policy and it has been a problem with an employee more than once, but holding the paycheck as a method to gain compliance could subject your company to significant liability in the form of a wage and hour claim.