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Can Your Employer Withhold Bonuses and Commissions?

June 26, 2020 Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages

Your Rights Under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment Collection Law

The basic agreement between employer and employee is that the employee gives their time to the employer, and the employer pays wages to the employee. Wages can include many things, including salaries or an hourly rate, fringe benefits, bonuses, and commissions.

When an employer doesn’t pay any one of these things in a timely manner and on its regular schedule, this can have major repercussions in the employee’s life—and legal consequences for the employer.

Your protections under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment Collection Law

Employers sometimes do try to withhold wages, including earned bonuses and commissions. Employees are particularly vulnerable to this immediately after leaving a job, when the employer may try to hold on to their last paycheck.

Under the law, your employer should pay you within a regular timeframe. Ideally that timeframe should be defined in your employment contract. If you don’t have a contract or it’s not defined there, it should be paid within a time that’s standard in your industry, or within 15 days from the end of the pay period.

Your employer should inform you of the details of your payment schedule when you’re hired, and let you know if those terms have changed.

In addition, your employer is not supposed to make deductions from your wages except for those required under law—such as tax deductions.

And if you leave your job, your employer has to make your last payment on the next regularly scheduled payment day. They aren’t allowed to withhold your payment for any reason, even if you no longer work there.

Disputes between employers and employees with regard to unpaid bonuses and commissions are fairly common in cases where the employer has withheld an owed payment.

In Pennsylvania, the PA WPCL states that you’re not just entitled to your withheld bonuses, commissions, and any other wages or benefits that have been withheld—but also liquidated damages amounting to 25% of the wages owed, as well as attorney’s fees.

What to do if your employer has withheld bonuses or commissions

If your employer has withheld any owed payment, including bonuses or commissions, you should get in touch with a qualified employment lawyer.

Your lawyer can review your situation, determine whether your rights have been violated, and help you hold your employer to account and collect everything that was owed.

We’ve helped many clients recover unpaid bonuses, commissions and other wages—and we can help you, too. Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.