Unpaid Wages Demand Letter | Sample

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Updated August 08, 2022

Or use an attorney at ContractsCounsel to write a demand letter.


An unpaid wages demand letter is submitted to an employer that owes an employee for past wages. This is common when an employee has stopped working and is demanding their last paycheck from the employer. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not cover unpaid wages. Therefore, an employee must lookup their State laws regarding this matter.

Common Types of Unpaid Wages

  • Last Payment (after leaving)
  • Overtime Pay
  • Minimum Wage ($/hr)

Table of Contents

How to Collect Unpaid Wages

Some States require an employer to pay an employee’s last paycheck immediately. Although, many States have no required time-frames. Therefore, collecting the last paycheck from an employer requires strong language to motivate them to make payment. This motivation should come from a well-written demand letter and threat of court action.

Step 1 – Contact Your State Labor Office

Contact your State Labor Office in order to find out your rights as an employee. Officials at the department will inform an employee of the proper route to collect. In addition to the wages owed to the employee, the employer will be required to withhold and make payroll tax payments.

Step 2 – Write a Demand Letter

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If the Labor Office tells you that the employer is beyond the State Required Time-Limits, a demand letter should be written. This should include strong legal language stating the wages owed and that if this matter should go to court that they may be responsible for the legal fees of both parties. Which is common in labor disputes such as this.

Step 3 – Contact U.S. Dept of Labor

Before submitting any type of court filing, it’s best to contact a Local U.S. Dept of Labor Office and see if they can contact the employer. A phone call from a government department such as this may motivate the employer to make payment.

Step 4 – File a Complaint and Summons

In the employee’s State, a proper court filing should be made. This will be completing (most commonly) by submitting a Complaint and Summons along with paying the filing fee. The Complaint and Summons will then be required to be served by the employee on the employer in accordance with court rules.

Small Claims Court Limits ($) – Most filings will be with the State’s Small Claims court system.

Step 5 – Attend Court Hearing

Both parties will be required to attend the court hearing unless the matter has been settled. The employee should bring all evidence they have and present it to the Judge. Unless the employer has a legitimate excuse, the Judge will usually rule in favor of the employee including their fees for filing the case.

Video

Sample – Unpaid Demand Letter

Enrico Diaz
423 Bearbridge Pass #1-A
80314 Boulder Colorado
enricod@email.com
(720) 555-8097

February 8th, 2020

Ms. Jennifer Coolidge, Senior Supervisor
Preston Research LLC
3 Hildebrand Street, Suite 744
80301 Boulder, CO

Dear Ms. Jennifer Coolidge,

I was recently let go from my position as Call Center Supervisor on January 22nd, 2020. I am writing this letter because I am still owed a total of $989 in unpaid wages for the period of January 15th to January 21st, 2020. I respectfully demand that you pay the full amount owed to me within five business days.

If there is no response to this letter, I will take legal action to recover these unpaid wages. Additionally, this debt may be transferred to a collection’s agency without further notice. You may be held liable for any fees associated with such actions.

This demand letter for payment serves as official notice to you and may be tendered in court as evidence of your failure to pay. If you believe that the amount is different than the one described herein, you must pay this sum and provide a justification for the difference in calculations.

Please send your payment to the following address:

423 Bearbridge Pass #1-A
80314 Boulder Colorado

I hope that this matter can be resolved as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Enrico Diaz

State Required Time-Limits

The table provides State time-limits when employers are required to pay an employee’s back pay or last check.

State Employee Fired Employee Quits Laws
 Alabama No laws. No laws. N/A
 Alaska 3 working days. 3 days or next payday, whichever is sooner. § 23.05.140(b)
 Arizona 7 working days or next payday, whichever is sooner. Next payday. § 23-353
 Arkansas Next payday. Next payday. § 11-4-405
 California Immediately. 72 hours. Immediately if employee gives 72 hours’ notice. § 201, 202, and 227.3
 Colorado Immediately. Next payday. § 8-4-109
 Connecticut Next business day after discharge. Next payday. § 31-71c
 Delaware Next payday. Next payday. § 19-1103
 Florida No laws. No laws. N/A
 Georgia No laws. No laws. N/A
 Hawaii Immediately. Next payday. Immediately if employee gives one pay period’s notice. § 388-3
 Idaho Next payday or 10 days, whichever is sooner. If employee requests earlier payment, 48 hours. Next payday or 10 days, whichever is sooner. If employee requests earlier payment, 48 hours. § 45-606 and 45-617
 Illinois No later than next payday. No later than next payday. 820 ILCS 115/5
 Indiana Next payday. Next payday. § 22-2-9-2 and 22-2-5-1
 Iowa Next payday. Next payday. § 91A.4
 Kansas Next payday. Next payday. § 44-315
 Kentucky Next payday or within 14 days, whichever is later. Next payday or 14 days, whichever is later. § 337.055
 Louisiana Next payday or within 15 days, whichever is earlier. Next payday or 15 days, whichever is earlier. § 23:631
 Maine Next payday or within two weeks after demand, whichever is earlier. Next payday or 2 weeks, whichever is earlier. § 26-626
 Maryland Next payday. Next payday. § 3-505
 Massachusetts day of discharge. Next payday. § 149-148
 Michigan Immediately. When amount is determined. § 408.474 and 408.475
 Minnesota Immediately. Next payday. If payday is less than 5 days after last day of work, the following payday or 20 days after last day of work, whichever is earlier. § 181.13 and 181.14
 Mississippi No laws. No laws. N/A
 Missouri  Immediately.  Immediately. § 290.110
 Montana Immediately (unless there is a written policy). Next payday or 15 days, whichever is earlier. § 39-3-205
 Nebraska Next payday or 2 weeks, whichever is earlier. Next payday or 2 weeks, whichever is earlier. § 48-1230
 Nevada  Immediately. Next payday or 7 days, whichever is earlier. § 608.020 and 608.030
 New Hampshire 72 hours (next payday if employee is laid off). Next payday (72 hours if employee gives one pay period’s notice). § 275:44
 New Jersey Next payday. Next payday. § 34:11-4.3
 New Mexico 5 days. Next payday. § 50-4-4 and 50-4-5
 New York Next payday. Next payday. § 191
 North Carolina Next payday. Next payday. § 95.25.7
 North Dakota Next payday. Next payday. § 34-14-03
 Ohio Next payday. Next payday. § 4113.15
 Oklahoma Next payday. Next payday. § 40-165.3
 Oregon End of the business day after termination. Immediately. Without 48 hours’ notice, 5 days or next payday, whichever is earlier. § 652.140
 Pennsylvania Next payday. Next payday. § 260.5
 Rhode Island Next payday. If termination is due to merger, relocation, or liquidation of business, 24 hours. Next payday. § 28-14-4
 South Carolina 48 hours or next payday. 48 hours or next payday. § 41-10-50
 South Dakota Next payday or when employee returns employer’s property. Next payday or when employee returns employer’s property. § 60-11-10 and 60-11-14
 Tennessee Next payday or 21 days, whichever is later. Next payday or 21 days, whichever is later. § 50-2-103
 Texas 6 days. Next payday. § 61.014
 Utah 24 hours. Next payday. § 34-28-5
 Vermont 72 hours. Next payday. § 342
 Virginia Next payday. Next payday. § 40.1-29
 Washington End of next pay period. End of next pay period. § 49.48.010
West Virginia Next payday. Next payday. § 21-5-4
 Wisconsin Next payday or 1 month, whichever is earlier. If termination is due to merger, relocation, or liquidation of business, 24 hours. Next payday. § 109.03
 Wyoming Next payday. Next payday. § 27-4-104