Skip to main content

What is wage theft?

When an employer avoids paying or fails to pay wages earned by its employees, it is wage theft. View examples of wage theft here. Learn about new wage theft legislation here

Does my employer have to pay me time-and-a-half for holidays?

Your employer must pay you for all hours worked and many employers voluntarily pay employees time-and-a-half their usual wage for hours worked on holidays, but it is not required by law.

What can I do if my employer is not paying the minimum wage?

You must receive at least the minimum wage per hour for all hours your employer requires you to work, including preparation time, on-the-job training, opening and closing times, and required meetings. If your employer is not paying you at least the minimum wage, call the Department of Labor and Industry, Labor Standards unit, to file a complaint (contact information is listed below). Labor Standards will review your complaint to determine what action needs to be taken. (See Minnesota Rules 5200.0120.) 

Can my employer require me to come in and wait around the workplace until it gets busy, without getting paid?

No, the employer is required to pay for all hours worked, including waiting time, call time, training time and any other time the employee is required to be on the premises of the employer. (See Minnesota Rules 5200.0120.) 

When does my employer have to pay me overtime?

Overtime is to be paid at one-and-one-half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 48 hours in a seven-day workweek, under state law. However, most businesses are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act that requires overtime after 40 hours in a seven-day workweek. No employer or employee may enter into an agreement that would violate the law requiring an employee to be paid overtime. (See Minnesota Statutes 177.25.) 

If a holiday falls in a workweek and you work your full week besides, don't you have to be paid overtime?

No, overtime is based on actual hours worked and does not include holidays, vacation leave or sick leave days used.

I am an employer and I want to put my employees on salary. Do I still have to pay overtime?

Yes, overtime must be paid unless the worker is employed in agriculture or qualifies for exemption from minimum wage and overtime by the salary and duty tests for the executive, administrative or professional exemptions. Contact the Department of Labor and Industry, Labor Standards unit (contact information is listed below) for further information. (See Minnesota Rules 5200.0190 through 5200.0210.)

My employer wants to take my wages to make up for cash shortages or things I break. Can they do that?

Your employer may not deduct from your wages for breakages, cash shortages, tools or uniforms. Some exceptions to this rule are allowed. Contact the Department of Labor and Industry, Labor Standards unit (contact information is listed below) for more information. (See Minnesota Rules 181.79.)

I was just fired (laid off, job ended), when does my employer have to pay me?

Your paycheck is to be issued within 24 hours of your demand for wages (see Minnesota Statutes 181.13). If you quit, your wages are due within the next pay period that is more than five days after quitting. However, wages must be paid within 20 days of separation (see Minnesota Statutes 181.14). In cases where the discharged or quitting employee was entrusted with money or property during employment, the employer shall have an additional 10 calendar-days after the date of the employee's separation to audit the accounts of the employee before the employee's wages are to be paid.

I am a commissioned salesperson, when are my commissions due after I leave employment?

The employer would be obliged to continue with your employment agreement and pay your commissions when they would normally be earned, less any deductions that are authorized by the commission policy. Sometimes commissions are not earned until the product is delivered and the customer pays. This can be several months after the job ends. When commissions are due is controlled by contractual agreement. (See Minnesota Statutes 181.145.)

My employer closed its doors without paying my wages. How do I find out if it has filed for bankruptcy?

You can contact the nearest U.S. bankruptcy court clerk's office in Duluth, Fergus Falls, Minneapolis or St. Paul. If the employer has filed bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court clerk's office will give you the name of the attorney handling the case, so that you can contact them and list your name as a creditor. You may contact the clerk of the bankruptcy court to file a preferred wage claim if there are concerns that sufficient funds will not be available to cover your wages as a creditor. Major stockholders, owners and officers of a bankrupt business may be personally liable.

Bankruptcy court clerks' offices

  • Duluth – 218-529-3600

  • Fergus Falls – 218-739-4671

  • Minneapolis – 612-664-5200

  • St. Paul – 651-848-1000

What is a payroll card and how is it used?

For a payroll card, instead of receiving a check on payday, the employee's wages are deposited into an account accessible through the payroll card, which can be used similar to a debit card. An employee can keep a balance on the card to either use at an automated teller machine (ATM) or a retail establishment. Beginning in 2005, Minnesota law allows employers to offer the option of payroll cards to their employees, as long as the employee has the right to collect wages in an alternative form, such as cash, a check or direct deposit. Other restrictions are also explained in Minnesota Statutes 177.255

For more information

Contact us at dli.laborstandards@state.mn.us, 651-284-5070 or 800-342-5354.