Employment Law/PR Checks


Ms McAllister;
I have always believed it is ILLEGAL to give a payroll check to anyone bit the Payee unless you have written authorization to do so. I believe this law is due to Husbands/Wives taking the other's pay? I cannot find anything online comfirming this.
I work in Massahcusetts and I refuse to just give a paycheck to anyone other than employee named unless I have written instruction from employee to do so. Is this a LAW or simply sound employer policy.
Thank you for your help.
Aileen Grant

Each state has laws which are specific for that state. I did a search and did not find anything on this topic for Massachusetts. There is no federal law.

There are plenty of legal sites warning against this for obvious reasons. The most obvious reason is you have not actually paid the employee until he has the check in his hands. So if he does not get the check you could be on a limb to pay him again if he files that he did not receive his pay.

The spouse or other person could lose the check, they could forget to give it to the employee, and anything could happen to it.

You are under no obligation to give the paycheck to anyone except the person that earned it unless he is deceased.

What I do to solve this problem is ask the person picking up the check to give me written authorization form the employee that they have permission to pick it up and keep the authorization on file.

I will allow an employee to set up a written authorization in my office to give his check to someone else on a continual basis.

I always, always suggest they do direct deposit.

I write up an authorization form that says by signing the form they release all claims against the company for the released payroll check.

I have used this a few times...someone is on vacation on payday, someone is in the hospital or sick and cannot pick it up, or the employee has a flex schedule with that day regularly off and does not want to drive several miles into the office to pick up the check.

I still emphasize direct deposit.


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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).


30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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