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53 Broad Street, Suite 205
Charleston, SC 29401
T: (843) 737-6040
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Unpaid Wage Claims

South Carolina law strictly requires employers of five or more employees to notify each employee at the time of hire and in writing of the wages agreed upon, the time and place of payment of the wages, and any deductions that will be made from the wages.

The term “wages” is a broad term under the SC Payment of Wages Act and includes not only salary, but also bonuses, vacation, holiday, and sick leave payment due to an employee under any employer policy, such as an employee handbook, or employment contract. If an employer does not want to compensate employees for the monetary equivalent of vacation, holiday, or sick leave upon the employee’s termination, then the employer must specifically state in the employee handbook, employment contract, or other written policy distributed to the employee that these items are not wages and the employer must specifically state that there will be no payment for these items upon termination.

Any and all changes to these terms must be given by the employer to the employee in writing at least seven calendar days before they are to become effective and implemented. The required seven day notice only applies to decreases in wages and does not apply to increases in wages. An employee’s failure to provide the required seven days notice constitutes a violation of the SC Payment of Wages Act and may give rise to a cause of action on behalf of the employee.

The SC Payment of Wages Act requires all employers to pay all wages due at the time and place that is designated on the wages and hour statement issued to the employee at the time of hire. The Act does allow for employers to issue payment of wages to employees by way of direct deposit to the employees bank account.

Many wage payment disputes occur when an employee is terminated or otherwise separates from employment with the employer. The Act is very specific about payment of wages to employees upon termination or separation from employment. An employer is required to pay all wages due to a separated employee, whether the employee separated from the employer voluntarily or involuntarily, within 48 hours of the time of separation or the next regular pay day which may not exceed 30 days.


If an employer fails to pay owed wages to a separated employee within the strict statutory time limits set forth by the Act, then the employee may recover the owed wages by filing a civil action against their previous employer under the Act. The Act also allows for an employee to recover an amount that equals three times the full amount of the unpaid wages, plus costs and reasonable attorney’s fees, if the court or jury determines that the employer withheld the wages owed in the absence of good faith or if no bona fide dispute as to whether or not the wages were owed exists.

The SC Payment of Wages Act specifically requires employers to keep records of the names and addresses of all employees, the wages paid to each employee each payday, and any deductions made from the payments. The Act also applies to the payment of commissions to sales representatives and contains a special section and set of statutory rules for the payment of commissions.


Explore Further:

Wrongful Termination

Unpaid Overtime Claims

Unpaid Wage Claims

Family Medical Leave Act

Severance Agreements

Covenants Not to Compete

Sexual Harassment




Breach of Contract


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