State Law > Oklahoma > Oklahoma Wage Payment Law

Oklahoma Wage Payment Law

 

Oklahoma's wage payment law can be found in Title 40, Chapter 5 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.1 Definitions.
  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.2 Semimonthly Payment of Wages on Regular Paydays - Payment in Money - Itemized Statement of Deductions - Prohibited Payments.
  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.3 Termination of Employee - Payment - Failure to Pay.
  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.3a Wages and Benefits upon Employee's Death.
  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.4 Bona Fide Disagreements.
  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.5. Effect of private agreements.
  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.6 Contractors As Employers.
  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.8 Penalties.
  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.9 Actions To Recover Unpaid Wages And Damages - Parties - Costs and Attorney's Fees.
  • 40 O.S. Sec. 165.11 Failure to Pay Benefits or Furnish Wage Supplements Pursuant to Agreements - Terms Defined.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.1 - Definitions.
As used only in Sections 165.1 through 165.11 of this title:

1. "Employer" means every individual, partnership, firm, association, corporation, the legal representative of a deceased individual, or the receiver, trustee or successor of an individual, firm, partnership, association or corporation, employing any person in this state;

2. "Employee" means any person permitted to work by an employer;

3. "Exempt employee" means those management level employees exempt under the provisions of Section 213 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. Section 213, from the provisions of Sections 206 and 207 of said act [29 USCA §§206, 207];

4. "Wages" means compensation owed by an employer to an employee for labor or services rendered, including salaries, commissions, holiday and vacation pay, overtime pay, severance or dismissal pay, bonuses and other similar advantages agreed upon between the employer and the employee, which are earned and due, or provided by the employer to his employees in an established policy, whether the amount is determined on a time, task, piece, commission or other basis of calculation;

5. "Commissioner" means State Commissioner of Labor; and

6. "Bona fide disagreement" means an honest and sincere belief or assertion based on a dispute of a determinative fact or application of law under this title which is supported by relevant evidence.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.2 - Semimonthly Payment of Wages on Regular Paydays - Payment in Money - Itemized Statement of Deductions - Prohibited Payments.

Every employer in this state shall pay all wages due the employees, other than exempt employees and employees of nonprivate foundations qualified pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 509(a)(1) and 26 U.S.C. 170(b)(1)(A)(vi), at least twice each calendar month on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer. State, county and municipal employees, exempt employees, and employees of nonprivate foundations qualified pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 509(a)(1) and 26 U.S.C. 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) shall be paid a minimum of once each calendar month. The amount due such employees shall be paid in lawful money of the United States, including payment by electronic means, and the employee shall not be deemed to have waived any right or rights mentioned in this section because of any contract to the contrary. With each payment of wages earned by such employee, the employer shall issue to such employee a brief itemized statement of any and all deductions therefrom. An interval of not more than eleven (11) days may elapse between the end of the pay period worked and the regular payday designated by the employer. The employer shall be allowed three (3) days after such payday in which to comply with this section.

No such employer shall issue, in payment of or as evidence of indebtedness due an employee any check, cashier's check, draft, time check, store order, scrip, or other acknowledgment of indebtedness unless the same is payable or redeemable upon demand without discount and for face value in lawful money of the United States.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.3.1 - Termination of employment; Payment of wages at next regular payday; Liability for failure to pay wages; Bankruptcy issue.

A. Whenever an employee's employment terminates, the employer shall pay the employee's wages in full, less offsets and less any amount over which a bona fide disagreement exists, as defined by Section 165.1 of this title, at the next regular designated payday established for the pay period in which the work was performed either through the regular pay channels or by certified mail postmarked within the deadlines herein specified if requested by the employee, unless provided otherwise by a collective bargaining agreement that covers the employee.

B. If an employer fails to pay an employee wages as required under subsection A of this section, such employer shall be additionally liable to the employee for liquidated damages in the amount of two percent (2%) of the unpaid wages for each day upon which such failure shall continue after the day the wages were earned and due if the employer willfully withheld wages over which there was no bona fide disagreement; or in an amount equal to the unpaid wages, whichever is smaller; provided, however, that for the purpose of such liquidated damages such failure shall not be deemed to continue after the date of the filing of a petition in bankruptcy with respect to the employer if he thereafter shall have been adjudicated bankrupt upon such petition.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.3a - Wages and Benefits upon Employee's Death.

Other than an employee provided with an option of beneficiary designation with respect to his wages and benefits by his employer, all wages earned by an employee, not exceeding Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00), shall, upon the employee's death, become due and payable to the employee's surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, the dependent children, or their guardians or the conservators of their estates, in equal shares, without the necessity of a probate court action.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.4 - Bona Fide Disagreements.

In case of a bona fide disagreement over the amount of wages, the employer shall give written notice to the employee of the amount of wages which he concedes to be due, and shall pay such amount, without condition, within the time required by Sections 165.2 and 165.3 of this title; provided, however, that acceptance by the employee of any payment made hereunder shall not constitute a release as to the balance of his claim. Payment in accordance with this section shall constitute payment for the purposes of complying with Sections 165.2 and 165.3 of this title, if, but only if, there exists a bona fide disagreement over the amount of wages.

The Commissioner may set the contested amounts for administrative hearing pursuant to Section 3 of this act.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.5. Effect of private agreements.

Except as hereinafter provided under Section 10 [Section 165.10], no provision of this act shall in any way be contravened or set aside by private agreement.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.6 - Contractors As Employers.

Whenever any person herein called the contractor shall contract with another for the performance of any work which the contractor has undertaken to perform, the contractor shall be deemed an employer and shall become civilly liable to employees engaged in performance of work under such contract for the payment of wages (but not for the payment of liquidated damages) as required by Sections 2 and 4 of this act whenever and to the extent that the employer of such employees fails to pay such wages; provided, however, that the employer of such employees shall be liable to the contractor for wages paid to such employees by the contractor under this section.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.7 - Enforcement And Administration - Administrative Proceedings - Orders - Appeals - Actions.

A. The Commissioner of Labor shall enforce and administer the provisions of this act and in any case where a civil action may be brought for the collection of a wage claim, the Commissioner of Labor may provide for an administrative proceeding to determine the validity and enforce collection of the claim. The administrative proceeding shall be conducted according to the Administrative Procedures Act.

B. In any case when the Commissioner has received a wage complaint, the Commissioner may seek collection of such claim through administrative proceedings in a manner provided in this section. The Commissioner may join in a single administrative proceeding any number of wage claims against the same employer. The Commissioner shall serve upon the employer an order of determination directing the employer to pay to the Commissioner the amount of the wage claim and any penalty amounts. Service shall be made by regular mail to the employer's last-known address. The order of determination shall include:

1. A reference to the particular sections of the statutes or rules involved;

2. A short and concise statement of the basis for the amounts determined to be owed to each wage claimant;

3. A statement that the employer within twenty (20) days after receipt of the order of determination must pay in full the wage claim and any penalties assessed on appeal to district court; and

4. A statement that unless a written request for reconsideration is received by the Commissioner or the order is appealed to district court within the time specified, the order of determination shall become final.

C. Upon failure of the employer to pay the amount specified in the order of determination or to request reconsideration or appeal to district court, the order of determination shall become final.

D. A hearing shall be held in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act by the Commissioner or the Commissioner's designee. The Commissioner shall adopt rules for such hearing. In any hearing before the Commissioner's designee, the designee is authorized to issue the final order in the case.

E. Final administrative orders issued in a wage claim proceeding are subject to appeal pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act.

F. When an order under this section becomes final by operation of law or an appeal, and the amount due is not paid within twenty (20) days after the order becomes final, the order may be recorded with the county clerk in any county of this state. The clerk shall thereupon record the name of the person incurring the penalty and the amount of the penalty in the county clerk's lien record. The order may be collected as any other money judgment.

G. The remedies provided by Sections 165.1 through 165.11 of this title shall be additional to and not in substitution for and in no manner impair other remedies. Additionally, one or more individuals who are aggrieved by violation of any provision of Sections 165.1 through 165.11 of this title shall be entitled to bring an action in his or their own name to enforce the provisions of such sections.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.8 - Penalties.

It shall be a misdemeanor for any employer to violate any of the provisions of Sections 165.1 through 165.11 of this title.

40 O.S. Sec. 10 - Punishment of Misdemeanors-Generally

Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by this chapter or by some existing provisions of law, every offense declared to be a misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or both such fine and imprisonment.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.9 - Actions To Recover Unpaid Wages And Damages - Parties - Costs and Attorney's Fees.

A. Action by an employee to recover unpaid wages and liquidated damages may be maintained in any court of competent jurisdiction by any one or more employees for and in behalf of himself or themselves and other employees similarly situated, or such employee or employees may designate an agent or representative to maintain such action for and on behalf of all employees similarly situated for such wages. Any employee, or his representative, shall have the power to settle and adjust his claim for unpaid wages.

B. The court in any action brought under this section may, in addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff or plaintiffs, defendant or defendants, allow costs of the action, including costs or fees of any nature, and reasonable attorney's fees.

40 O.S. Sec. 165.11 - Failure to Pay Benefits or Furnish Wage Supplements Pursuant to Agreements - Terms Defined.

A. In addition to any other penalty or punishment otherwise prescribed by law, any employer who is a voluntary party to or subject to a bona fide written agreement to pay or provide benefits or wage supplements to employees or to a third party or fund for the benefit of employees and who willfully fails, neglects or refuses to pay the amount or amounts necessary to provide such benefits or furnish such supplements within thirty (30) days after such payments are required to be made by law or by agreement, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and each such failure to make payment as required herein shall constitute a separate offense. Where such employer is a corporation, the president, secretary, treasurer or officers exercising corresponding functions shall each be guilty of a misdemeanor.

B. As used in this section, the term "benefits or wage supplements" includes, but is not limited to, reimbursement for expenses as agreed prior to contracting said expenses; health, welfare and retirement benefits; and vacation, separation or holiday pay

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