Your cruise director has also been bombarded with requests to simplify the wage laws and penalties on a state by state basis. I will do my best and attempt to add links to the appropriate agencies and information.
Another state that does not make this an easy process for the worker. These are important points gleaned from the Alaska Wage Claim Form (see Links section below):
- if you are terminated, you must receive your wages within three working days; if you leave and give at least three days notice, within the next regular payday
- You should contact a wage claim investigator if a) your claim totals more than $20,000 or b) Heller files for bankruptcy before you file your claim. The contact information is:
WAGE & HOUR ADMINISTRATION
3301 Eagle Street, Suite 301
ANCHORAGE, AK 99503
Phone: (907) 269-4900
Fax: (907) 269-4915
- you must wait three working days before filing a claim.
- “Claims are assigned to investigators on Friday of each week. Once assigned, a notice of claim and demand letter is sent to the employer. Twenty days are allowed for the employer to respond. Depending on the office, it may take many weeks before your claim letter is typed and mailed. Except for claims that are running out due to the Statute of Limitations, each claimant must wait their turn. Once the demand letter is sent, the claim is set for follow-up. Follow-up dates vary with investigator caseloads.”
- “If an employer will not pay, and if the Department believes the claim has merit, the case may be filed in court. It may take up to two (2) years to resolve a claim in court, depending on the caseloads of the Department of Law and the courts. If the wages and penalties are less than $20, 000, the case may be filed in Small Claims Court. You must be willing to appear and testify in a Department meeting or in court. Failure to appear may result in the Department or the court ruling against you. Failure to keep the Department informed of your current mailing address and phone number might result in the closure of your claim. As the assignee of your claim, the Department is permitted to adjust the amount of your claim if it receives a settlement offer.”
Alaska – Wage Claim Form
- if you are terminated by Heller, your wages must be paid to you immediately.
- if you give notice that you are leaving Heller, and it is more than 3 days notice, your wages must be paid to you immediately upon exit.
- if you leave Heller without notice (aka “see ya!”), your wages must be paid to you within 72 hours.
- “wages” include accrued vacation.
- it is a “willful failure to pay wages” if the firm does not pay you according to the laws and the timeline above.
- a “waiting time penalty” can be assessed for the “willful failure to pay wages” and is in addition to the wages owed.
- the waiting time penalty is calculated as follows: The penalty is measured at the employee’s daily rate of pay and is calculated by multiplying the daily wage by the number of days that the employee was not paid, up to a maximum of 30 days. This does not mean that the wages continue for a 30-day period, but that the employee may be entitled to up to 30 actual days’ worth of wages. The 30-day period is calendar days, and includes weekends and holidays and any other days that the employee would not normally work. 
 California Labor Code §201: “If an employer discharges an employee, the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately.”
 California Labor Code §202(a): ”If an employee not having a written contract for a definite period quits his or her employment, his or her wages shall become due and payable not later than 72 hours thereafter, unless the employee has given 72 hours previous notice of his or her intention to quit, in which case the employee is entitled to his or her wages at the time of quitting.”
 California Labor Code §227.3: ”Unless otherwise provided by a collective-bargaining agreement, whenever a contract of employment or employer policy provides for paid vacations, and an employee is terminated without having taken off his vested vacation time, all vested vacation shall be paid to him as wages at his final rate in accordance with such contract of employment or employer policy respecting eligibility or time served; provided, however, that an employment contract or employer policy shall not provide for forfeiture of vested vacation time upon termination. The Labor Commissioner or a designated representative, in the resolution of any dispute with regard to vested vacation time, shall apply the principles of equity and fairness.”
 Title 8. California Code of Regulations, §13520: “A willful failure to pay wages within the meaning of Labor Code Section 203 occurs when an employer intentionally fails to pay wages to an employee when those wages are due. However, a good faith dispute that any wages are due will preclude imposition of waiting time penalties under Section 203.
(a) Good Faith Dispute. A “good faith dispute” that any wages are due occurs when an employer presents a defense, based in law or fact which, if successful, would preclude any recover on the part of the employee. The fact that a defense is ultimately unsuccessful will not preclude a finding that a good faith dispute did exist. Defenses presented which, under all the circumstances, are unsupported by any evidence, are unreasonable, or are presented in bad faith, will preclude a finding of a “good faith dispute.”
 California Labor Code §203: “If an employer willfully fails to pay, without abatement or reduction, in accordance with Sections 201, 201.5, 202, and 205.5, any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, the wages of the employee shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof at the same rate until paid or until an action therefor is commenced; but the wages shall not continue for more than 30 days. An employee who secretes or absents himself or herself to avoid payment to him or her, or who refuses to receive the payment when fully tendered to him or her, including any penalty then accrued under this section, is not entitled to any benefit under this section for the time during which he or she so avoids payment.”
California Labor Code
California Department of Industrial Relations
California Employee Development Department
California Waiting Time Penalty
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
- if you are terminated by Heller, your wages must be paid not later than the working day following the termination
- if you give notice that you are leaving Heller, your wages must be paid upon the next regular payday or within 7 days from the date of quitting or resigning, whichever is earlier
- the penalty to Heller is 10% of the unpaid wages for each working day the amount remains unpaid. If the firm files for bankruptcy, then the penalty calculation is halted on that date.
- the fines to Heller could be a fine of not more than $300 or imprisonment up to 30 days for the first violation; a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment up to 90 days for each subsequent violation; there are also administrative penalties of up to $300 for the first violation and up to $500 for each subsequent violation.
 District of Columbia Office Code § 32-1303(1): “Whenever an employer discharges an employee, the employer shall pay the employee’s wages earned not later than the working day following such discharge; provided, however, that in the instance of an employee who is responsible for monies belonging to the employer, the employer shall be allowed a period of 4 days from the date of discharge or resignation for the determination of the accuracy of the employee’s accounts, at the end of which time all wages earned by the employee shall be paid.”
 District of Columbia Office Code § 32-1303(2): “Whenever an employee (not having a written contract of employment for a period in excess of 30 days) quits or resigns, the employer shall pay the employee’s wages due upon the next regular payday or within 7 days from the date of quitting or resigning, whichever is earlier.”
 District of Columbia Office Code § 32-1303(4): ”If an employer fails to pay an employee wages earned as required under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this section, such employer shall pay, or be additionally liable to, the employee, as liquidated damages, 10 per centum of the unpaid wages for each working day during which such failure shall continue after the day upon which payment is hereunder required, or an amount equal to the unpaid wages, whichever is smaller; provided, however, that for the purpose of such liquidated damages such failure shall not be deemed to continue after the date of the filing of a petition in bankruptcy with respect to the employer if he thereafter shall have been adjudicated bankrupt upon such petition.”
 District of Columbia Office Code § 32-1307(a), 32-1307(b): ”Any employer who, having the ability to pay, willfully violates any provisions of § 32-1302 or § 32-1304 or who fails to comply with any other provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall for the 1st offense be punished by a fine of not more than $300, or by imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or in the discretion of the court, by both such fine and imprisonment; and for any subsequent offense shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment of not more than 90 days, or in the discretion of the court, by both such fine and imprisonment.” “In addition to and apart from any other penalties or remedies provided for in this chapter, the Mayor shall assess and collect administrative penalties up to a maximum of $300 for the first violation and up to a maximum of $500 for each subsequent violation. The Mayor shall consider factors that include the history of previous violations by the employer, the administrative costs of the proceeding to collect, and the size of the employer’s business, when determining the penalty to be imposed. In addition, the Mayor may assess more than one administrative penalty against an employer for the same adversely affected employee if the employer has violated more than one statutory provision of this chapter.”
District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition – Title 32. Labor. Chapter 13. Payment and Collection of Wages.
ILLINOIS (yes Heller has some employees in Illinois)
- if you are terminated, you must be paid by the next regular payday; if you give notice and leave you must be paid by the next regular payday
- All final compensation, including bonus payments, vacation pay, wages and commissions must be paid on your next regularly scheduled payday.
- An employee must file his/her wage/final compensation complaint with the Ilinois Department of Laboe within one (1) year after such wages or final compensation were due.
- An employee must be paid the entire balance of accrued vacation upon termination. A former employee has a claim under the Act for the collection of the monetary equivalent of his/her vacation time earned in accordance with an employment contract, agreement or policy.
- a wage claim application is reviewed for completeness, timeliness, and, to make sure the Department has jurisdiction. You may be asked to provide additional information and/or evidence to support your claim. Once your claim is accepted, a letter (notice of claim) is sent to your former employer. However, just because the Department accepts your claim does not mean that you are entitled to the wages or final compensation claimed. If the employer disputes your claim, you will be asked to respond and/or attend an office hearing if necessary. Remember, this is a lengthy process and may take up to one year or longer to resolve.
 820 ILCS 115/5: “Every employer shall pay the final compensation of separated employees in full, at the time of separation, if possible, but in no case later than the next regularly scheduled payday for such employee. Where such employee requests in writing that his final compensation be paid by check and mailed to him, the employer shall comply with this request. Unless otherwise provided in a collective bargaining agreement, whenever a contract of employment or employment policy provides for paid vacations, and an employee resigns or is terminated without having taken all vacation time earned in accordance with such contract of employment or employment policy, the monetary equivalent of all earned vacation shall be paid to him or her as part of his or her final compensation at his or her final rate of pay and no employment contract or employment policy shall provide for forfeiture of earned vacation time upon separation. “
 820 ILCS 115/11: ”It shall be the duty of the Department of Labor to inquire diligently for any violations of this Act, and to institute the actions for penalties herein provided, and to enforce generally the provisions of this Act. An employee may file a complaint with the Department alleging violations of the Act by submitting a signed, completed wage claim application on the form provided by the Department and by submitting copies of all supporting documentation. Complaints shall be filed within one year after the wages, final compensation, or wage supplements were due.”
 820 ILCS 115/5 (see Note 1 above)
 56 Ill. Adm. Code 300.520: “a) Whenever an employment contract or an employment policy provides for paid vacation earned by length of service, vacation time is earned pro rata as the employee renders service to the employer.
b) Oral promises, handbooks, memoranda, and uniform patterns of practice may create a duty to pay the monetary equivalent of earned vacation.
c) Claims for vacation pay must be brought to the Department within three years from the date the vacation is earned.
d) Nothing in this provision shall be construed to reduce or impair the right of the claimant to maintain a civil action to recover additional vacation pay found due by such courts.
e) An employment contract or an employer’s policy may require an employee to take vacation by a certain date or lose the vacation, provided that the employee is given a reasonable opportunity to take the vacation. The employer must demonstrate that the employee had notice of the contract or policy provision.
f) The Department recognizes provisions whereby:
1) no vacation is earned during a limited period at the commencement of employment. The employer must demonstrate that the provision is not a subterfuge to avoid payment of vacation actually earned by length of service and, in fact, no vacation is implicitly earned or accrued during that period.
2) vacation is earned and accrues at an accelerating rate during the year. The provision is acceptable when the acceleration period and the changes in accrual rates are reasonable, and the policy is uniformly applied.
3) the employer does not have separate arrangements for vacation and sick leave. Under the provision, employees earn a certain number of “paid days off” which they can use for any purpose, including vacation and sick leave. Because employees have an absolute right to take these days off (unlike traditional sick leave where using such sick leave is contingent upon illness), the Department shall treat “paid days off” as earned vacation days.
g) Any employer that provides paid vacation to its employees must maintain true and accurate records of the number of vacation days earned for each year and the dates on which such vacation days were taken and paid.”
 56 Ill. Adm. Code 300.940-300.1020. http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/056/056003000E09400R.html
Illinois Department of Labor
New York is not as “worker friendly” as one would think. Again it has been very difficult finding information about wage claims and penalties.
- if you are terminated, you must be paid by the next regular payday; if you give notice and leave you must be paid by the next regular payday
- if your claim is for less than $3,000 you may also file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court.
- Section 190.7 of the New York State Labor Law excludes from wage payment coverage those persons in an administrative, executive or professional capacity whose earnings exceed $900 gross per week.
- Whether an employer is obligated to pay for unused time depends upon the terms of the vacation and/or resignation policy. New York courts have held [in Glenville Gage Company, Inc. v. Industrial Board of Appeals of the State of New York, Department of Labor, 70 AD2d 283 (3d Dept 1979) affd, 52 NY2d 777 (1980)] that an agreement to furnish benefits or wage supplements, such as vacation, can specify that employees forfeit accrued benefits under certain conditions. To be valid, the employer must have notified employees, in writing, of the conditions that nullify the benefit. If an employee has earned vacation time — and there is no written forfeit policy, the employer must pay the employee for the accrued vacation.
New York State Department of Labor
New York State Wage Claim Form
New York State Claim for Unpaid Wage Supplements
- termination wages are due to the worker on the next regularly scheduled payday regardless of whether the worker quit or was fired
- it is a misdemeanor to not provide wages due employee upon termination
- the first thing the worker should do is ask the business why the paycheck hasn’t been paid. If the business refuses to release the check, the worker may choose one of the following three options:
- Obtain the services of a private attorney
- File a claim in small claims court (for up to $4,000)
- File a wage complaint with Washington Department of Labor and Industry
- paid vacation, holiday, and sick leave and severance pay are considered voluntary benefits that a business may choose to offer workers. Washington State law does not require a business to provide these benefits. Even though there is no state law requiring a business to pay these benefits upon termination, if the business promises workers these benefits and does not follow through, workers can contact an attorney or file in small claims court for their unpaid benefits.
 Revised Code of Washington 49.48.010: “When any employee shall cease to work for an employer, whether by discharge or by voluntary withdrawal, the wages due him on account of his employment shall be paid to him at the end of the established pay period: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That this paragraph shall not apply when workers are engaged in an employment that normally involves working for several employers in the same industry interchangeably, and the several employers or some of them cooperate to establish a plan for the weekly payment of wages at a central place or places and in accordance with a unified schedule of paydays providing for at least one payday each week; but this subsection shall not apply to any such plan until ten days after notice of their intention to set up such a plan shall have been given to the director of labor and industries by the employers who cooperate to establish the plan; and having once been established, no such plan can be abandoned except after notice of their intention to abandon such plan has been given to the director of labor and industries by the employers intending to abandon the plan: PROVIDED FURTHER, That the duty to pay an employee forthwith shall not apply if the labor-management agreement under which the employee has been employed provides otherwise.”
 Revised Code of Washington 49.48.020: “Any person, firm, or corporation which violates any of the provisions of RCW 49.48.010 through 49.48.030 and 49.48.060 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
 Revised Code of Washington 49.48.083: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=49.48.083
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
Wage Complaint Form
How To File A Wage Complaint Form
- if you are terminated, you must be paid by the next payday or within one month, whichever is earlier; if you give notice and leave you must be paid by the next regular payday
- if termination is due to merger, relocation, or liquidation of business, you must be paid within 24 hours;
- you must wait 6 days after requesting payment of wages form employer; you have up to two years to file a claim
- Wisconsin does not have a law governing payment of accured vacation; it is recommended that a claim be made based on past practice of the firm (has it always paid terminated employees accrued vacation? is there a written policy concerning how the firm handles accrued vacation?)
- penalties of up to 50% of the wage claim if it is commenced before the investiation is completed; penalties of up to 100% of the wage claim if it is commenced after the investiation is completed 
- fines of up to $500 and imprisonment up to 90 days; each failure or refusal to pay a wage claim is treated as a separate offense
 Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 109.03(2): “Any employee, except a sales agent employed on a commission basis, not having a written contract for a definite period, who quits employment or who is discharged from employment shall be paid in full by no later than the date on which the employee regularly would have been paid under the employer’s established payroll schedule or the date of payment required under sub. (1), whichever is earlier.”
 Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 109.03(4): “Whenever an employee is separated from the payroll of an employer as a result of the employer merging, liquidating or otherwise disposing of the business, ceasing business operations in whole or in part, or relocating all or part of the business to another area within or without the state, the employer, or the successors in interest of the employer, shall pay all unpaid wages to the employee at the usual place of payment within 24 hours of the time of separation.”
 Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 109.09
 Wisconsin Statues Chapter 109.122(a)-(b): “(a) In a wage claim action that is commenced by an employee before the department has completed its investigation under s. 109.09 (1) and its attempts to compromise and settle the wage claim under sub. (1), a circuit court may order the employer to pay to the employee, in addition to the amount of wages due and unpaid and in addition to or in lieu of the criminal penalties specified in sub. (3), increased wages of not more than 50% of the amount of wages due and unpaid.”
“(b) In a wage claim action that is commenced after the department has completed its investigation under s. 109.09 (1) and its attempts to settle and compromise the wage claim under sub. (1), a circuit court may order the employer to pay to the employee, in addition to the amount of wages due and unpaid to an employee and in addition to or in lieu of the criminal penalties specified in sub. (3), increased wages of not more than 100% of the amount of those wages due and unpaid.”
 Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 109.11(2)(b): “(b) In a wage claim action that is commenced after the department has completed its investigation under s. 109.09 (1) and its attempts to settle and compromise the wage claim under sub. (1), a circuit court may order the employer to pay to the employee, in addition to the amount of wages due and unpaid to an employee and in addition to or in lieu of the criminal penalties specified in sub. (3), increased wages of not more than 100% of the amount of those wages due and unpaid.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Wisconsin Wage Claim Forms