Can I withhold signing bonus from final two pay checks

We have an employee that has resgined. Per his offer letter, he would have to repay a prorated portion of his signing bonus in the event left the company. How much am I able to legally withhold from this employee's final two pay checks? I previously had withheld $3000 from his last pay check which was approximately 81% and fear this was too much. Once he found out we were withholding the prorated amount of his bonus, he ended up resgning immediately and now has a check for 23 hours for this pay, but still owes $3250 for his signing bonus and 26 hours for his negative PTO balance. Please let me know what are the limits that I am able to withhold for this employee in OH.

1 answer  |  asked Nov 29, 2016 09:56 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Ohio law requires employers to pay wages within a certain amount of time (about 30 days). It also says:

"Where wages remain unpaid . . . and no contest court order or dispute of any wage claim including the assertion of a counterclaim exists accounting for nonpayment, the employer, in addition, as liquidated damages, is liable to the employee in an amount equal to six per cent of the amount of the claim still unpaid and not in contest or disputed or two hundred dollars, whichever is greater."

Ohio Revised Code Section 4113.15.

It is not clear whether the "contest, court order or dispute of (the) wage claim" is a defense to non-payment of the employee's wages, or just a defense only to the liquidated damages. In other words, this law may prohibit any deduction of wages. In that event, you should pay this employee his wages and then file a separate lawsuit to compel him to repay the signing bonus.

Totally apart from 4113.15, the Ohio minimum wage is $8.10 per hour, and you must pay at least that much each pay period without deduction. In other words, if 4113.15 allows you to withhold wages because you have a dispute with the employee, you nonetheless must pay at least the minimum wage (and overtime, if applicable) for all hours worked.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Nov 29, 2016 10:14 AM [EST]

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