Wisconsin – Wage Payment Laws


Wisconsin Wage Payment Laws



Frequency of Wage Payments

An employer must pay employees all wages due at least once per month. Wages must be paid within thirty-one (31) days of the end of a pay period.

An employer engaged in logging or farm operations may pay employees quarterly (once every three (3) months).

An employer and the bargaining representative of its employees may agree to payment periods of less than once per month.

Employees at private or public schools may request to be paid over twelve (12) months, thus relieving an employer of the obligation to pay the employees within thirty-one (31) days of the end of a pay period.

Voluntary fire fighters or emergency medical technicians may be paid as infrequently as once per year, if agreed to by the employee.

Wisconsin Stat. 109.03




Manner of Wage Payments

An employer may pay wages by:

  • cash;
  • check; or
  • direct deposit.

WI Dept. of Workforce Dev. FAQ



Direct Deposit

An employer can require employees to receive wages by direct deposit. However, there cannot be any cost to the employee to participate in the program. WI Dept. of Workforce Dev. FAQ



Payment upon Separation from Employment

An employer must pay employees who quits or resigns employment or who is discharged or terminated all wages due by no later than the date on which the employee regularly would have been paid under the employer’s established payroll schedule.

Whenever an employee is separated from the payroll of an employer as a result of the employer merging, liquidating or otherwise disposing of the business, ceasing business operations in whole or in part, or relocating all or part of the business to another area within or without the state, the employer, or the successors in interest of the employer, must pay all wages due at the usual place of payment within 24 hours of the time of separation. Wisconsin Stat. 109.03

Employees who are suspended or resigns due to a labor dispute (strike)

Wisconsin has no law regarding an when an employer must pay an employee who has resigned due to a labor dispute. Presumably an employer would pay an employee who resigns employment due to a labor dispute by no later than the date on which the employee regularly would have been paid under the employer’s established payroll schedule.



Wages in Dispute

Wisconsin does not have any laws requiring an employer to pay an employee wages conceded to be due when involved in a wage dispute with the employee.



Deductions from Wages

An employer may not make any deduction from the wages of an employee for defective or faulty workmanship, lost or stolen property (presumably this would include a cash shortage), or damage to property, unless:

  • the employee authorizes the employer to do so in writing (The employee”™s written permission must be obtained after each occurrence of a problem; a blanket consent form will not work)
  • the employer and a representative designated by the employee (e.g., union) determine the defective or faulty workmanship, loss, theft or damage is due to the employee’s negligence, carelessness, or willful and intentional conduct, or
  • the employee is found guilty or held liable in a court of competent jurisdiction by reason of that negligence, carelessness, or willful and intentional conduct.

Wisconsin Stat. 103.455; WI Dept. of Workforce Dev. FAQ



Uniforms, Tools, and Other Equipment Necessary for Employment

Wisconsin does not have any laws prohibiting an employer from requiring an employee to purchase a uniform, tools, or other items necessary for employment.



Pre-hire Medical, Physical, or Drug Tests

An employer may not require any employee or applicant for employment to pay the cost of a medical examination required by the employer as a condition of employment. Wisconsin Stat. 103.37



Notice of Wage Reduction

Wisconsin does not have any laws addressing when or how an employer may reduce an employees wages or whether an employer must provide employees notice prior to instituting a wage reduction. Any wage reduction can only be applied to hours worked after the change and cannot be applied to hours already worked.



Statement of Wages (Pay Stub)

An employer must state clearly on an employee’s paycheck, pay envelope, or paper accompanying the wage payment, including direct deposit payments:

  • the number of hours worked,
  • the rate of pay and
  • the amount of and reason for each deduction from wages due or earned by the employee,

Wisconsin Stat. 103.475; WI Admin Code DWD 272.10



Record Keeping Requirements

An employer must make and keep for at least 3 years payroll or other records for each of their employees which contain:

  • name and address;
  • date of birth;
  • date of entering and leaving employment;
  • time of beginning and ending of work each day;
  • when employee”™s meal periods are required or when such meal periods are to be deducted from work time. (This requirement does not apply when work is of such a nature that production or business activity ceases on a regularly scheduled basis);
  • total number of hours worked per day and per week;
  • rate of pay and wages paid each payroll period;
  • the amount of and reason for each deduction from the wages earned; and,
  • output of employee, if paid on other than time basis.

The record or a duplicate copy must be kept safe and accessible at the place of employment or business at which the employee is employed, or at one or more of the established central record keeping offices in the state of Wisconsin.

WI Admin Code DWD 272.11



Notice Requirements

An employer must, at the time of hiring, notify each employee about any hairstyle, facial hair or clothing requirement. Wisconsin Stat. 103.14