Rhode Island – Wage Payment Laws

Rhode Island Wage Payment Laws

Frequency of Wage Payments

An employer must pay its employees once per week, except those employees who are paid a fixed biweekly, semi-monthly, monthly, or yearly rate. Rhode Island Stat. 28-14-2.2

An employer must establish a regular pay day. An employer must notify employees of a change in the scheduled pay day 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. Rhode Island Stat. 28-14-2

Manner of Wage Payments

An employer may pay employees by:

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

Rhode Island Stat. 28-14-2; Rhode Island Stat. 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

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. Rhode Island Stat. 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. Rhode Island Stat. 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. Rhode Island Stat. 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.

Rhode Island Stat. 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. Rhode Island Stat. 28-6.2-1

Notice of Wage Reduction

Rhode Island 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. 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 Rhode Island Stat. 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.

Rhode Island Stat. 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.

Rhode Island Stat. 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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