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How to send a letter to a former employer for unpaid final wages

When a former employer fails to pay you the wages you are owed, your best first line of action is to send a letter demanding payment. The letter serves three purposes. First, it makes the former employer aware of the payment. If it was simply an oversight, the employer can pay the amount due and avoid expensive and timely legal proceedings. Second, a letter is legal proof that you demanded payment. Third, a dated letter will work in your favour should you request penalty payment for delayed payment.

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  1. Address the letter respectfully to your former employer.

  2. Date the business letter so you have legal proof of the date of request.

  3. Include the dates you worked for the company, the date you were dismissed or resigned and the dates you worked without receiving compensation.

  4. Detail the amount of money you are owed, including wages, overtime, compensation, commission and bonuses.

  5. Research your state's laws regarding when payment is due after a person leaves a place of employment. Mention that date in your letter.

  6. Investigate your state's labour code regarding delayed payment penalty. If you qualify, mention the number of days for which you should receive delayed payment fines.

  7. Inform your former employer that you would prefer to settle the situation informally, but that you will file a legal claim for payment if you do not get a response by a reasonable date.

  8. Include your preferred method of payment. If you wish to receive a check, include your address so your former employer can resolve the matter quickly.

  9. Copy the letter and keep it on file.

  10. Send the letter by certified or registered mail so you have proof of receipt. File the proof of receipt with your copy of the letter.

  11. Tip

    If your letter is ineffective, seek legal action according to the laws in your state. Do not take matters into your own hands.

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About the Author

Christy Bagasao

Christy Bagasao has been writing since 1991. She is an English and communication graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran College with a year spent at Nottingham University in England. Her work has appeared in such publications as "Forward in Christ."

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