Under what conditions can an employer withhold an hourly employee’s paycheck?

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Under what conditions can an employer withhold an hourly employee’s paycheck?

I am a licensed electrician and own my own business. Each employee is required to complete a job sheet for each job he is sent on. Employees are paid hourly. These sheets are necessary for billing the customer and keeping track of inventory. It lets me know what job he was on, how long the job took, what materials were used, travel time, etc. If an employee does not complete these sheets, can I withhold his pay for the time of that job that he does not complete the sheet for?

Asked on October 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the job sheets are necessary to calculate the employee's wages --e.g. the employee works offsite, so you have no other way of determining his or her hours, and the job sheet is the only source of information about hours worked--you can withhold pay until provided with the information you need to calculate it.

On the other hand, if you *could* pay the employee without the job sheet--i.e. you know his or her hours worked--and you "just" need the job sheets for your own bookkeeping, administrative, and accounting purposes (e.g. to know who to charge; to know what portion of the bill is labor, and what portion materials; etc.) then you can't withhold pay. If you can pay the employee, you must; what you can do to an employee who doesn't provide you the documenation you need and they are supposed to is to discipline (e.g. suspend, demote, etc.) or terminate him or her.


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