There is no law in Georgia saying when a final paycheck has to be paid. Your final paycheck should be paid on the same schedule as all other paychecks have been.

You can fight for your pay -- read about how in "What Can I Do If My Boss Won't Give Me My Final Pay?"

Also, private employers with more than 100 employees have to give workers 60 days notice before closing a workplace or laying off 50 or more workers. Workers can be paid for the days that they should have had notice. This is called Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN). Some states have extra protections for more workers. Go to the "Big Layoffs & Bankrupt Bosses" link in the Resource Box on this page for more information.

Do I have a right to severance pay? No, unless there is an employment contract, a union contract, or a long history of your company paying severance pay in similar situations. If a large group of workers is being laid off, you should get 60 days notice or pay for any of those days you didn't have notice. See the link to "Big Layoffs and Bankrupt Bosses" in the Resource Box on this page for more information.

Do I get paid for my accrued vacation time when I leave a job? No, unless there is an employment contract, a union contract, or a long history of your company paying severance pay in similar situations. If a large group of workers is being laid off, you should get 60 days notice or pay for any of those days you didn't have notice. See the link to "Big Layoffs and Bankrupt Bosses" in the Resource Box on this page for more information.

If you think you may be leaving your job soon find out the specific rules about vesting and accruing vacation. Read the employee handbook, ask Human Resource what the specific rules are, and ask other employees what the company has done with other employees when they left. Decide if you should use up your accrued time before you leave.

What are my rights if I have a union? If you have union protection, you have more rights than non-union workers. Your union can help protect your rights more effectively than the law. Contact your union steward or representative for help getting your final pay.

What rights do independent contractors have to get a final check? Independent contractors can take someone who doesn't pay them to small claims court - called Magistrates' Court in Georgia -  (see the page on "What Can I Do if My Boss Won't Give Me My Final Pay?"). If you are just called independent contractors so your boss can avoid the laws protecting you, you may be able to prove that you are really an employee (NOT an independent contractor) and win your rights and sometimes back pay, unemployment, or workers comp. Read more on Independent Contrators in the Resource Box on this page.

Can my boss hold back my paycheck? No. No matter what, it's your money. Also, your boss can't hold your check to force you to return company property. HR may tell a worker that "when you drop off the equipment, you can collect your final check." That suggests you can't have your check unless you return the company property -- but you can.

If you have company property, it's smart to return it -- in the future another company may be calling to ask for a reference (even if you didn't tell them to). If you have something that's worth a lot, the company could also take you to small claims court to get it back.