Senate Bill No. 120
Introduced By mahlum
A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act providing an exception from the requirement that an employee who is separated for cause or laid off from employment be paid all unpaid wages immediately upon separation if a wage payment provision is provided for in the employer's written personnel policy manual; clarifying the provisions for payment of unpaid wages; and amending section
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 39-3-205, MCA, is amended to read:
"39-3-205. Payment of wages when employee separated from employment prior to payday --
(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3), when an employee is separated from the employ of any employer, all the
unpaid wages of the employee are due and payable within 3 days, except for employees of the state of Montana and its
political subdivisions who would be paid on the next regular payday for the pay period during which the employee was
separated from employment or 15 days from the date of separation from employment, whichever occurs first, either through
the regular pay channels or by mail if requested by the employee. However, if an employer's payroll checks originate at an
office outside the state, the time provided in this section for payment of wages must be extended for 3 additional days. (2) Except as provided in subsection (3), if an employee is separated for cause from employment by the employer, all the
unpaid wages of the employee are due and payable immediately upon the separation. (3) If an employee is separated from employment by the employer because the employee has committed the offense of
theft of the employer's funds or property and criminal charges have been filed by the county attorney against the employee,
the employer may apply to the district court for an order temporarily staying the payment of any unpaid wages due the
employee and staying the running of the penalty provided for in 39-3-206 pending the final resolution of criminal
proceedings against the employee. If the employee pleads or is found guilty of the criminal offense, the district court may
order any wages due and owing to the employee by the employer to be offset against the amount the employee illegally
obtained from the employer. If the employee is found not guilty of the criminal offense, the district court may order the
employer to pay the employee any wages due, including interest. When an employee separates from the employ of any
employer, all the unpaid wages of the employee are due and payable on the next regular payday for the pay period during
which the employee was separated from employment or 15 days from the date of separation from employment, whichever
occurs first, either through the regular pay channels or by mail if requested by the employee.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), when an employee is separated for cause or laid off from employment by the employer, all the unpaid wages of the employee are due and payable immediately upon separation unless the employer has a written personnel policy governing the employment that extends the time for payment of final wages to the employee's next regular payday for the pay period or to within 15 days from the separation, whichever occurs first.
(3) When an employee is discharged by reason of an allegation of theft of property or funds connected to the employee's work, the employer may withhold from the employee's final paycheck an amount sufficient to cover the value of the theft if:
(a) the employee agrees in writing to the withholding; or
(b) the employer files a report of the theft with the local law enforcement agency within 7 days of the separation from employment, subject to the following conditions:
(i) if no charges are filed in a court of competent jurisdiction against the employee for the alleged theft within 15 days of the filing of the report with a local law enforcement agency, wages are due and payable upon the expiration of the 15-day period.
(ii) if charges are filed against the employee for theft, the court may order the withheld wages to be offset by the value of the theft. If the employee is found not guilty or if the employer withholds an amount in excess of the value of the theft, the court may order the employer to pay the employee the withheld amount plus interest."