Unclaimed paychecks also known as unpaid wages refer to the financial assets that were not received by the employee from his/her employer. There are various reasons why wages become unclaimed.
However, it commonly happens when an employer is not able to provide the right payment for the employee. When it would be monitored, the employer owes money to the employee that needs to be received.
Generally, unclaimed paychecks fall under the Unclaimed Property Law of the District of Columbia, local states, and territories of the United States.
This means that all of the unclaimed paychecks must undergo a systematic and legal process within the government.
As unpaid wages are under unclaimed property, respective employers and businesses turn it over to the US federal government and local state government units.
Furthermore, the US Department of Labor manages and handles unclaimed paychecks throughout the United States.
According to the most recent data from the stated agency, they were able to recover around $257 million in unpaid wages from businesses that failed to pay their employees the proper salaries in 2020.
Some of the inappropriate payments are paychecks under the minimum wage and withholding overtime payments. The data shows that millions of employees are still not able to receive their respective payments back on their jobs.
Unclaimed Paychecks serve as huge assistance for individuals who have them, especially when they would be returned.
Individuals are free to use these financial assets whether for their necessities or secondary use. Moreover, as long as the government holds unpaid wages, eligible individuals will always have the right to reclaim them.
Various reasons can be counted when a wage or paycheck becomes unclaimed. However, the most common cause is that the employer did not pay the employee with proper wages when the employee is still working.
This primarily gets the attention of the Department of Labor as paying under the minimum wage is a violation of the federal labor law.
Moreover, there can also be a problem with an employee such as a change of bank accounts or numbers. With these, the employee will not receive their paycheck.
The said reasons are just some of the several possible reasons why wages become unclaimed, transactions will still depend between the employer and employee.
Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is a federal office of the US Department of Labor that primarily manages the enforcement of federal labor law. The said division was created under the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Furthermore, the Fair Labor Standards Act amends and protects the unpaid wages of employee throughout the United States. The said law also punishes those employers that have a violation and don’t want to repay it.
Based on the FLSA, employers must pay the right wages for their employees and so, even a small amount of loss must be reclaimed. It ensures that employers do not take advantage of employees within the different industries in the United States.
With the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), employers throughout the United States were being monitored as they followed the federal labor laws. These include the unpaid wages or unclaimed paychecks of employees.
If the WHD found violations, it will assess the employer and check its breach. Also, the said division provides effort upon locating the right employee to be paid by his/her back wages. Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has 3 years to find the employee and give its unpaid wages.
However, if they did not find the employee for 3 years, they need to surrender their financial assets to the US Department of Treasury and will be held by the federal government.
When financial funds are held by the government, it will take a long process to reclaim them. The main purpose of WHD is to assist and help employees that have unclaimed benefits.
There are various ways on how to find and check whether you have unpaid wages. You can visit your local offices and check your details and information. You can also find it online through trusted and authorized websites.
Refer below for some of the common steps to check your unclaimed payments.
Aside from the DOL’s Search tool, there are also trusted websites that provide information for unpaid wages. Moreover, local states also have their respective websites for unclaimed funds, you may visit the website in your area.
The process of reclaiming your unpaid wages will depend on where you found it. However, for most of the wages that are monitored by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the US Department of Labor, the process is reliable.
Once the said division found the employee, it will send verification, and the process of reclamation will start sooner. For individuals who found their unpaid wages by searching through DOL’s website, the process of reclamation can also be seen with the said website.
Moreover, individuals can also visit and communicate with their Local Wage and Hour Division Office to start their process. Remember that when an individual finds his/her unclaimed payment, it will be easy to reclaim it.
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