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Dismissal paycheck requirements by state

Employers must make sure they know when to:

  • Legally pay departing employees
    • Most states require that employers give departing employees their dismissal (or final) paychecks within a set period of time, or even on the employee’s last day of work. In some states, the time period varies depending on whether the employee quit or was fired/laid off. 
  • Pay out unused vacation hours to departing employees (if required). 

Don’t violate the law

While employers often assume they should pay the dismissal paycheck on the company’s next scheduled payroll, it’s often the case that the payroll is scheduled for after the applicable dismissal payment deadline. This can lead employers to unknowingly violate the law.

The consequences of paying a departing employee late can be significant - ranging from penalties imposed by the state, to extra damages paid to the employee, or even criminal consequences in some states. 

Use the table below to help inform you of whether your state has specific deadline and/or unused vacation pay requirements. 

  • For additional information about the current requirements, visit your states’ Department of Labor website.
  • If you still have specific questions about whether your termination payment process is compliant, consult an employment attorney.

This table was last revised February 28, 2020. 

State

Dismissal paycheck deadline(s)

Is there a requirement for paying out unused vacation?  Additional information
Alabama
  • No statute
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Alaska
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Within 3 working days.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday that is at least 3 days after the employee gives notice.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Arizona
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Within 7 working days or the next scheduled payday, whichever is sooner.
  • If employee quits: Next regular payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Arkansas
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Within 7 working days.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
California
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Immediately.
  • If employee quits: Within 72 hours, or immediately if employee gives at least 72 hours’ notice.
  • There are some exceptions for specific industries.
  • Yes
  • Employers are required to pay employees any accrued, unused vacation time upon termination.
Colorado
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Immediately, with some exceptions.
  • If employee quits: Next regular payday.
  • Yes (may depend on an employer's policy)
  • Earned vacation time is considered wages required to be paid out upon termination.
Connecticut
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next business day after discharge.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No
  • If employment is terminated, employers that offer paid vacation time must pay the employee's accrued, unused vacation time in accordance with company policy or employee agreement
Delaware
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Florida
  • No statute
  • No
  • No state statute addresses payment of accrued vacation on termination.
Georgia
  • No statute
  • No
  • No state statute addresses payment of accrued vacation on termination.
Hawaii
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Immediately, with some exceptions.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday, or immediately if employee gives at least one pay period’s notice.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Idaho
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday or within 10 business days, whichever is sooner.
    • If employee makes a written request for earlier payment, within 48 hours (excluding weekends & holidays) of receiving the request.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday or within 10 business days, whichever is sooner.
    • If employee makes a written request for earlier payment, within 48 hours (excluding weekends & holidays) of receiving the request.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Illinois
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Immediately if possible, but no later than the next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Immediately if possible, but no later than the next scheduled payday.
  • Yes
  • If employment is terminated, employers that offer paid vacation time must pay the employee's accrued, unused vacation time in accordance with company policy or employee agreement
Indiana
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday with some exceptions if the employee’s whereabouts or address is unknown to the employer.
  • Yes (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or agreement determines whether earned, unused vacation is paid on separation. Without a policy in place, employees are entitled to any and all earned and unused vacation pay.
Iowa
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday with exceptions for some commissions.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday with exceptions for some commissions.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Kansas
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Kentucky
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday or within 14 days, whichever is later.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday or within 14 days, whichever is later.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Louisiana
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday or within 15 days, whichever is sooner.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday or within 15 days, whichever is sooner.
  • Yes
  • Earned vacation time is considered wages required to be paid out upon termination.
Maine
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday or within two weeks of a demand, whichever is sooner.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday or within two weeks of a demand, whichever is sooner.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Maryland
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • Yes (unless otherwise stated)
  • Employers are required to pay employees any accrued, unused vacation time upon termination unless the employer's written policy states that vacation time will be forfeited upon termination.
Massachusetts
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Immediately.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday, or the following Saturday if no scheduled payday.
  • Yes
  • Employers are required to pay employees any accrued, unused vacation time upon termination.
Michigan
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • There are some exceptions for specific industries.
  • Yes
  • Employers are required to pay employees any accrued, unused vacation time upon termination.
Minnesota
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Immediately.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
    • If the payday is less than five days after the employee’s last day of work, the employer can pay on the following payday or twenty days after the last day of work, whichever is sooner.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Mississippi
  • No statute
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Missouri
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Immediately.
  • If employee quits: No statute.
  • No
  • Employers are not required to pay employees for earned, unused vacation upon termination.
Montana
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Immediately, unless employer has a written policy extending this time to the next scheduled payday or within 15 days, whichever is sooner.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday or within 15 days, whichever is sooner.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Nebraska
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday or within two weeks, whichever is sooner.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday or within two weeks, whichever is sooner.
  • Yes
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.

Nevada

  • If employee is fired or laid off: Immediately.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday or within 7 days, whichever is sooner.
  • No
  • Employers are not required to pay employees for earned, unused vacation upon termination.
New Hampshire
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Within 72 hours. If employee is laid off, then until the next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday. If the employee gives at least one pay period’s notice, then within 72 hours.
  • Yes (unless otherwise stated)
  • Employers are required to pay employees any accrued, unused vacation time upon termination unless the employer's written policy states that vacation time will be forfeited upon termination.
New Jersey
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
New Mexico
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
New York
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
North Carolina
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
North Dakota
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • Yes, in most cases
  • Must pay accrued time off unless employee is leaving voluntary and all of the following apply:
    • Employee has been employed for less than 1 year
    • Policy states that there is a limitation of pay of accrued time off
    • The employee gave the employer less than 5 days verbal or written notice
Ohio
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Oklahoma
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Oregon
  • If employee is fired or laid off: First business day after termination.
  • If employee quits: Immediately if the employee gives 48 hours notice (excluding weekends and holidays). Otherwise, within 5 days.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Pennsylvania
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Rhode Island
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday, or within 24 hours if termination occurs as a result of liquidation, merger, disposal, or removal of the business.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • Sometimes
  • Employers are required to pay employees any accrued, unused vacation time upon termination if the employee has been employed for one year or more. For all other employees, the employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
South Carolina
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Within 48 hours or the next scheduled payday, but not to exceed 30 days.
  • If employee quits: Within 48 hours or the next scheduled payday, but not to exceed 30 days.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
South Dakota
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday or when the employee returns all the employer’s property (e.g. company phone).
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday or when the employee returns all the employer’s property (e.g. company phone).
  • No
  • Employers are not required to pay employees for earned, unused vacation upon termination.
Tennessee
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday or within 21 days, whichever is later.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday or within 21 days, whichever is later.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Texas
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Within 6 days.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Utah
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Within 24 hours.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • Yes (unless otherwise stated)
  • Employers are required to pay employees any accrued, unused vacation time upon termination unless the employer's written policy states that vacation time does not accrue and will be forfeited upon termination.
Vermont
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Within 72 hours.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday, or the following Friday if not scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Virginia
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Washington
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • There are some exceptions for specific industries.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
Washington DC
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next working day after discharge.
  • If employee quits: Within 7 days or the next scheduled payday, whichever is sooner.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.
West Virginia
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • Yes (unless otherwise stated)
  • Employers are required to pay employees any accrued, unused vacation time upon termination unless the employer's written policy states that vacation time will be forfeited upon termination.
Wisconsin
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Next scheduled payday, or within 24 hours if termination occurs as a result of liquidation, merger, disposal, or removal of the business.
  • If employee quits: Next scheduled payday.
  • There are some exceptions for specific industries.
  • No
  • Employers are not required to pay employees for earned, unused vacation upon termination.
Wyoming
  • If employee is fired or laid off: Within 5 working days
  • If employee quits: Within 5 working days.
  • There are some exceptions for specific industries.
  • No (unless otherwise stated)
  • An employer’s policy or employee contract governs whether earned, unused vacation is paid upon termination.

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