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Payment of Wages: Wisconsin

Payment of Wages requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Vicki M. Lambert, The Payroll Advisor


  • The term wages is specifically defined in the Wisconsin wage payment law. See Definition of Wages.
  • Wisconsin employers may pay wages in cash, by check or by direct deposit. See Wage Payment Methods.
  • Most employees in Wisconsin must be paid at least monthly, although more frequent paydays are permitted. See Pay Frequency.
  • Employers may make deductions from the wages of an employee for loss, theft, damage or faulty workmanship under certain conditions. See Permitted and Prohibited Wage Deductions.
  • Employees' paychecks, pay envelopes, or other paper accompanying employees' wage payments must clearly state certain information. Employers may use a reasonable coding system. Pay statements must be provided to employees paid by direct deposit. See Pay Statement Requirements.
  • Employees, other than sales agents employed on a commission basis, who quit voluntarily or who are discharged involuntarily must be paid in full no later than the employee's next regular payday. A different rule applies in cases of separation due to a merger, liquidation, relocation or cessation of business. See Final Pay.
  • Not less than five days after an employee's death, and before a petition or application for administration of the estate is filed, an employer may pay the full amount of wages due upon demand made by an appropriate claimant. See Deceased Employee Wages.
  • Wages that are unclaimed by an employee for one year are considered abandoned property. Payroll cards are generally presumed abandoned after five years. Employers must electronically file annual reports of unclaimed property, notify affected employees and remit any unclaimed property to the state Department of Revenue. See Unclaimed Wages.