Employers Must Promptly Pay Wages to Ex-Employees

Minnesota Statutes require that employees be paid promptly upon the termination of their employment. The actual date that payment must be made depends upon whether the employee quit the job or was terminated.

  • If the employee is fired, payment must be made immediately. See Minnesota Statutes section 181.13.
  • If the employee quits, the employee must be paid by the next payday. Except, that if the next payday is less than five days after last day of work, the employer may pay on the following payday or 20 days after last day of work, whichever is earlier. See Minnesota Statutes section 181.14.

If the employer fails to make payment as required by law, the employer may be liable to the employee for penalties. Minnesota statutes provide that if the employee’s earned wages and commissions are not timely paid after a written demand for wages, the employer is in default. If the employer is in default, the employer is liable to the employee for penalties equal to one day of wages for each day beyond the 24 hours that it fails to make payment up to a maximum of 15 days. Wages are determined by using the employee’s average daily earnings. (Note that separate laws apply to penalties for late payment of final wages by public employers).

Employee Wage Demand Letter Template

Here is an example of a demand for wages:

Dear _________,

This is a demand for my final wages in accordance with Minnesota law. My last day of work was _________. I am owed ___________ (dollar amount, number of hours, etc.).

(IF THE COMPANY TERMINATED YOU, USE THIS PARAGRAPH) Under Minnesota Statutes § 181.13, I am entitled to be paid within 24 hours of this demand.

(IF YOU RESIGNED/RETIRED, USE THIS PARAGRAPH) Under Minnesota Statutes § 181.14, I am entitled be paid in full not later than the first regularly scheduled payday following the employee’s final day of employment, which was January 3, 2020.

This statute further provides that, if an employer fails to timely pay, the employer is liable for “a penalty equal to the amount of the employee’s average daily earnings at the employee’s regular rate of pay” for up to 15 days.

Under Minnesota Statutes § 181.171, subdiv. 3, the employer is also liable for the employee’s attorney’s fees.

Please mail my final wages to the address listed below within 24 hours.



Wage Disputes

If there is a dispute as to the final wages owed the employee, the employer must pay the undisputed amount. Additionally, if the employee still has property of the employer that the employee has not returned (for example, a laptop or cell phone), the employer has ten days after termination of the employee to audit and adjust the accounts of the employee before the employee’s wages or commissions are required to be paid.