2010 Tennessee Code
Title 50 - Employer And Employee
Chapter 2 - Wage Regulations
Part 1 - General Provisions
50-2-103 - Payment of employees in private employments.

50-2-103. Payment of employees in private employments.

(a)  All wages or compensation of employees in private employments shall be due and payable as follows:

     (1)  All wages or compensation earned and unpaid prior to the first day of any month shall be due and payable not later than the twentieth day of the month following the one in which the wages were earned;

     (2)  All wages or compensation earned and unpaid prior to the sixteenth day of any month shall be due and payable not later than the fifth day of the succeeding month; and

     (3)  For the purposes of this subsection (a), the final wages of an employee who quits or is discharged shall include any vacation pay or other compensatory time that is owed to the employee by virtue of company policy or labor agreement. This subdivision (a)(3) does not mandate employers to provide vacations, either paid or unpaid, nor does it require that employers establish written vacation pay policies.

(b)  “Private employment,” as used in subsection (a), means and includes all employments in concerns where five (5) or more employees are employed, except those under the direct management, supervision and control of the United States, this state, any county, incorporated city or town, or other municipal corporation or political subdivision of the state, or any office or department of the state or general government.

(c)  Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as prohibiting the payment of wages at more frequent periods than semimonthly.

(d)  Every employer shall establish and maintain regular pay days as provided in this section, and shall post and maintain notices, printed or written in plain type or script, in at least two (2) conspicuous places where the notices can be seen by the employees as they go to and from work, setting forth the regular pay day as prescribed in subsection (a).

(e)  The payment of wages or compensation of employees in the employments defined in this section shall be made in lawful money of the United States or by a good and valid negotiable check or draft, payable, on presentation of the check or draft, at some bank or other established place of business, without discount, exchange or cost of collection, in lawful money of the United States, and not otherwise.

(f)  In case an employee in the employments defined in this section is absent from the usual place of employment at the time the payment of wages or compensation is due and payable, the employee shall be paid the wages or compensation within a reasonable time after making a demand for the wages or compensation.

(g)  Any employee who leaves or is discharged from employment shall be paid in full all wages or salary earned by the employee no later than the next regular pay day following the date of dismissal or voluntary leaving, or twenty-one (21) days following the date of discharge or voluntary leaving, whichever occurs last. No employer shall, by any means, secure an exemption from this subsection (g).

(h)  Each employee shall have a thirty-minute unpaid rest break or meal period if scheduled to work six (6) hours consecutively, except in workplace environments that by their nature of business provide for ample opportunity to rest or take an appropriate break. The break shall not be scheduled during or before the first hour of scheduled work activity.

(i)  A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500). Further, every employer, partnership or corporation willfully violating this section is subject to a civil penalty of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) at the discretion of the commissioner or the commissioner's designated representative. Each and every infraction constitutes a separate and distinct offense. If the commissioner, or the commissioner's designated representative, determines that the violation was unintentional, there shall be a warning, in lieu of a penalty, on the first offense. On second or subsequent violations, the civil penalty is applicable and may be assessed at the discretion of the commissioner or the commissioner's designated representative. It shall be at the sole discretion of the commissioner to elect to proceed either civilly or criminally upon any violation of this part; however, the employer shall not be charged both civilly and criminally for the same violation.

(j)  The department of labor and workforce development shall enforce this section. Each employer, during normal business hours, shall make available to inspectors of the department specific wage and payroll records of its employees maintained on the premises that are pertinent to a written complaint. Records that are maintained off the premises or inaccessible shall be made available to the inspectors on a timely basis as agreed upon by the inspector and the employer.

[Acts 1917, ch. 28, §§ 1-6; Shan., §§ 3608a77b1-3608a77b8; Code 1932, §§ 6713-6720; modified; Acts 1935, ch. 57, § 1; 1937, ch. 153, § 1; C. Supp. 1950, §§ 6714, 6719; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), §§ 50-306 50-313; Acts 1989, ch. 591, § 113; 1991, ch. 384, § 1; 1993, ch. 219, §§ 1, 3, 4; 1999, ch. 32, § 1; 1999, ch. 118, §§ 1, 2; 1999, ch. 520, § 41; 2001, ch. 128, § 1; 2003, ch. 142, § 1.]  

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