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Final Paycheck - Show-Up Pay

Let’s say you decide to fire Joe. First thing when he shows up, before he starts working, you pull him aside, explain that things are not working out and let him go. You know that you need to give him his paycheck within 24 hours. Do you have to pay Joe for coming in the day he was fired?

This is an important question. As you know, there is a substantial penalty for underpaying a terminated employee. If the final paycheck is off by even just $1, you will owe penalties equal to the employee’s daily wage or salary until the shortfall is paid, up to 30 days. That is 30 business days – not one month. Month’s usually average 22 business days.

So you want to do the right thing and you do not want to be responsible for paying penalty wages. Do you pay Joe for coming in before he was fired?

The answer is no. If Joe is 18 years of age or older and did not begin to work, then you do not need to pay him for coming in.

This is the issue of show-up pay. The law in this area changed in 1990. Before the change, if you had an employee come in and then you decide that you did not need them that day, you had to pay them for one-half of their scheduled shift even though you sent them home. This is still the law for minors but it is no longer the law for employees 18 years of age and older.

If Joe started work before you could talk to him, then you need to pay him for the time he worked. Let’s say he worked for 15 minutes. You would owe him for a quarter hour. The safest approach might be to include pay for a full hour when calculating Joe’s final paycheck.

Contrary to what you may remember from prior law or read on the Internet, if you fire an Oregon employee before he or she begins work, the final paycheck does not need to include money for showing up.

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