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Wages due upon separation

Minnesota Statutes provide penalties if wages are not paid according to the following guidelines:  for a discharged employee, wages are due within 24 hours of demand; and for voluntary-quit employees, wages are due by the next payday at least five days after the employee's last day and not to exceed 20 days from the last day worked.

Demanding your final wages

If you are an employee who has not received final wages from a previous employer, you can take the following steps to obtain your final wages. 

  1. Write a letter to your former employer demanding wages. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has prepared a sample letter template for those who have quit a job and for those who have been terminated from a job. It is important to demand the wages in writing so you have a record of your request and when it was made. It may also be beneficial to send your demand by certified mail so you know when the employer received the demand.

  2. File a wage claim with the Labor Standards unit at DLI. If your employer does not pay you in a timely manner after receiving your written demand for wages, contact the Labor Standards unit at 651-284-5070 or dli.laborstandards@state.mn.us to file a wage claim. To ensure DLI is able to process your claim, have the following information ready:
    – your name, address and telephone number;
    – your former employer's name, address, telephone number and manager or owner's name;
    – the date of your last day of work;
    – the date you demanded your final wages;
    – the amount you are due in final wages (if unknown provide as accurate an estimate as possible);
    – the dates you worked for your former employer yet were not paid; and
    – whether you were terminated from your job or you quit your job.

    The statute of limitations on wages is two years. If you submit a claim for wages you earned more than two years ago, DLI may not be able to assist you in getting those wages.

  3. Go to court. Employees also have the option of filing a claim in court if the employer does not pay final wages as required under Minnesota Statutes 181.13 or 181.14.

    • In addition to the amount of final wages due, employees may also recover one day of average wages for each day the employer is late in paying (up to 15 days).

    • If the amount of wages and penalties due equals $15,000 or less, the employee may file a claim in small claims court (conciliation court). Otherwise the employee must file in District Court.

For more information

Contact us at dli.laborstandards@state.mn.us, 651-284-5070 or 800-342-5354.