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How to Claim Unpaid Wages

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It can be frustrating when you can't get an employer to pay your wages. Sometimes, in a dry economy, less-than-reputable employers try to save money by hoping you won't notice when your wages go unpaid. Or perhaps you quit a job and are still owed money from the days you worked. In any case, your state government has safeguards in place so that you don't have to simply go unpaid. Report your employer and you can claim unpaid wages through the legal system.

Make a formal demand for the unpaid wages from your employer, in case there has been a mistake in accounting and he doesn't know that he owes you money. If he still refuses to pay, you can begin your claim.

Look up the number for your state's Department of Labor. You can find it in the phone book under Government Services, or search for it online (see Resources section).

Find the process for claiming unpaid wages; it is most likely an application. Fill in all the details: your personal information; information about your employer; how much money is owed for how much work; and your agreed-upon salary or wages.

Mail the application to the address indicated for your state's Department of Labor. When the claim has been processed, notice of the claim will be sent to your employer.

Call the Department of Labor and cancel the claim if your employer pays your wages.

Attend a hearing if your employer still does not want to pay. The agreement made between you and your employer when you began your job will be examined, as will all claims from both the employer and the employee, and a judgment will be made.


Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.