Employment and Labor Laws

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Wage Payment Laws


Frequency of Wage Payments

An employer must pay its employees other than employees of the state and its political subdivisions and of religious, literary, or charitable corporations once per week, except those employees who are paid a fixed biweekly, semi-monthly, monthly, or yearly rate.

The RI Dept. of Labor and Training may permit an employer, up written request, whose average payroll exceeds 200% of the state minimum wage may petition with to pay employees less frequently than weekly if:

  • The employer makes payment of wages regularly on a predesignated date no less than twice per month;
  • The employer provides proof of a surety bond or other sufficient demonstration of security in the amount of the highest biweekly payroll exposure in the preceding year for the employees subject to the petition; and
  • If the involved employees are subject to collective bargaining, the employer provides the written consent of the collective bargaining representative for all involved employees.

The RI Dept. of Labor and Training may permit an employer, up written request, whose average payroll less than 200% of the state minimum wage may petition with to pay employees less frequently than weekly if:

  • The employer has supplied the department with the following information:
    • The method through which wages shall be paid;
    • The requested frequency of payment;
    • The employer’s designated payday(s);
    • The classification of the employees involved;
    • The salary range of the employees involved; and
    • The employer’s federal identification number;
  • The employer makes payment of wages regularly on a predesignated date no less than twice per month;
  • The employer has no history of wage and hour violations;
  • The employer provides proof of a surety bond or other sufficient demonstration of security in the amount of the highest biweekly payroll exposure in the preceding year for the employees subject to the petition; and
  • If the involved employees are subject to collective bargaining, the employer provides the written consent of the collective bargaining representative for all involved employees.

If the RI Dept. of Labor and Training permits an employer to pay employees less frequently than weekly, the permission with continue for an indefinite period of time if:

  • Payroll is regularly satisfied on the designated payday;
  • The information provided by the employer to substantiate its request does not change; and
  • The employer remains in compliance with all other state labor laws.

RI Statute 28-14-2.2

An employer must establish a regular payday. An employer must notify employees of a change in the scheduled payday at least three paydays in advance. An employer must pay employees within nine (9) days of the end of the pay period. If a payday falls on a holiday, an employer may pay its employees on the day following the holiday. RI Statute 28-14-2


Manner of Wage Payments

An employer may pay employees by:

  • cash,
  • check convertible to cash on demand at full face value,
  • direct deposit, with written consent of the employee, or
  • payroll card.

RI Statute 28-14-2; RI Statute 28-14-10.1


Direct Deposit

An employer may pay an employee by direct deposit if the employee has consented in writing. Rhode Island Stat. 28-14-10.1


Payroll Card

An employer may pay an employee by payroll card account if the employee has consented in writing. A payroll card account is an account that is directly or indirectly established through an employer to which transfers of the employee’s wages, salary, or other compensation are made, and that carries the consumer protections that apply to payroll card accounts under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693 et seq., and Regulation E, 29 C.F.R. Part 1005, as may be amended.

If an employer pays wages by payroll account:

  • The employee must be able to make at least one (1) withdrawal from the payroll card account in each pay period without charge for any amount up to and including the full amount of the employee’s net wages for the pay period.
  • If the employee’s wages are paid more frequently than weekly, the employee must be able to make at least one (1) withdrawal from the payroll card account each week without charge for any amount up to and including the full amount of the employee’s net wages for that week.
  • Employees who receive wages by credit to a payroll card account must be provided with a means of checking their payroll card account balances, either through an automated telephone system or online, through the use of the internet, without cost, irrespective of the number of inquiries made.

RI Statute 28-14-10.1


Payment upon Separation from Employment

An employer must pay an employee who is discharged or terminated, who quits or resigns, or who is laid off all wages due by the next regular payday and payable at the usual place of payment.

Whenever an employer terminates the employment of an employee as a result of the employer liquidating the business, merging the business, disposing the business, or removing the business out of state, the employer must pay all wages within twenty-four (24) hours of the time of separation at the usual place of payment. RI Statute 28-14-4

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

In the event of the suspension of work as the result of an industrial dispute, e.g. strike, an employer must pay all wages due at the time of the suspension by the next regular payday. RI Statute 28-14-5


Wages in Dispute

In case of a dispute over wages between an employer and employee, the employer must give written notice to the employee of the amount of wages conceded to be due and timely pay that amount without condition. Acceptance by the employee of this payment does not constitute a release as to the balance of his or her claim. RI Statute 28-14-8


Deductions from Wages

An employer may not withhold or deduct any portion of an employee’s wages for:

  • cash shortages,
  • breakage, damage, or loss of employer’s property,
  • uniforms,
  • tools, or
  • other necessary items

An employer may make a deduction for loans or advances against future earnings if evidenced by a statement in writing signed by the employee with the amount to be deducted each pay period. The statement may read “balance due upon separation”.

RI Dept. of Labor and Training FAQs

An employer may deduct the following items from an employee’s wages upon written consent of the employee:

  • trade union or craft dues or other obligations imposed by a collective bargaining contract;
  • subscriptions to a nonprofit hospital service corporation or nonprofit medical and/or surgical service corporation;
  • contributions to or for the use of a religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational corporation, trust, community chest fund, or foundation;
  • payments for the purpose of purchasing obligations of the United States or stock of a corporation pursuant to an employee stock purchase plan;
  • contributions to a pension plan in which the employee is a participant not required by a collective bargaining agreement entered into between the authorized collective bargaining representative of an employee and his or her employer;
  • contributions to or for insurance or under an insurance plan for accident, health, or life coverage not required by a collective bargaining agreement entered into between the authorized collective bargaining representative of an employee and his or her employer;
  • amounts to be credited to a share, deposit, or loan account in any credit union;
  • contributions, subscriptions, or payments of a similar nature not connected with past or present indebtedness; or
  • payments for participation in a van pool transportation system where employee participation in the program is not a condition of employment.

RI Statute 28-14-10


Uniforms, Tools, and Other Equipment Necessary for Employment

Rhode Island 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 must pay the cost of any pre-employment medical examination, regardless of whether the prospective employee is hired. RI Statute 28-6.2-1


Notice of Wage Reduction

Rhode Island does not have any laws addressing when or how an employer may reduce an employee’s wages or whether an employer must provide employees notice prior to instituting a wage reduction. However, a 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)

On every regular payday, an employer must furnish to employees the following:

  • A statement of the hours worked by that employee during the applicable pay period, except for employees described in RI Statute 28-12-4.3;
  • A record of all deductions made from that employee’s gross earnings during the pay period together with an explanation of the basis or reason for the deductions; and
  • For employers engaged only in the commercial construction industry, a record of the employee’s hourly regular rate of pay. A “commercial construction industry” includes a business which engages in the doing of work or the furnishing of materials, or both, in the building, erection, alteration, or preparation of an improvement on commercial real property.

Employers may provide employees with the required statements and records as an electronic record. However, the employer must furnish the required statements and records as a printed or handwritten record, at no cost to the employee, if the employee requests in writing.

RI Statute 28-14-2.1


Record Keeping Requirements

An employer must make and keep for a period of not less than three (3) years in or about the premises where any employee is employed a record of:

  • the name, address, and occupation of each of his or her employees,
  • the rate of pay, and
  • the amount paid each pay period to each employee, the hours worked each day and each workweek by the employee.

RI Statute 28-12-12


Notice Requirements

Rhode Island does not have any laws requiring employers to provide employees, whether at hire or at any other time, of notice of wage rates, dates of pay, employment policies, fringe benefits, or other terms and conditions of employment.


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