Rhode Island’s frequency of wage payment law changing

by Timothy C. Cavazza

A new law going into effect January 1, 2014, allows private-sector employees to be paid every other week or twice a month provided certain conditions are met.

Rhode Island’s Payment of Wages Act was amended so that private-sector for-profit employers can pay employees less frequently than weekly after gaining approval from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT).

Employers with an average payroll exceeding 200 percent of the state minimum wage will have to show the following:

  • The employer pays 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” equal to the highest biweekly payroll in the preceding year.
  • The employer provides proof of the written consent of any union whose members would be affected by the change.

Employers whose payroll is less than 200 percent of the state minimum wage will have to meet the same criteria and provide the RIDLT more information about their wage and hour practices. They also will have to show that they do not have a history of wage and hour violations.

If the RIDLT grants an employer’s petition, it will remain valid “for an indefinite period of time” provided the information submitted in the petition doesn’t change and “the employer remains in compliance with all other state labor laws.”

State and municipal employers and “religious, literary, or charitable corporations” may continue paying employees on a weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, monthly, or even a yearly basis without having to submit an application.

For more information on this topic and other new laws in Rhode Island, see “Legislative update: What’s new for Rhode Island employers in 2013?” on page 1 of the August issue of Rhode Island Employment Law Letter.

Timothy C. Cavazza is an attorney with Whelan, Kinder & Siket LLP in Providence, Rhode Island. He can be reached at