Good Bye and Good Luck

A Simple Guide to final time, final checks and final good-byes!

Remember when (oh, about 20 years ago, maybe?) the standard “good bye” that was expected from an employee was the “Two-Week Notice” that they were quitting?

Then laws were passed – the Oregon “at will” employment law became the norm and voila! Both employee and employer can “leave at will” which translates to “gone at any moment” terminations or an employee’s quick phone call letting you know they will never be back.

Employment-at-will” means that either the employer or employee may end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, unless a law or contract provides to the contrary.

So when does the employee get their final paycheck?

Employee/Employer good byes may be quick, sudden or lingering—but there are strict and specific laws governing “when” the last paycheck of the exiting employee is due. Hell hath no fury like an angry employee who will march straight over to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries [BOLI] and file a complaint against your company. You don’t want to give BOLI nor the courts the opportunity to add a penalty on top of what you owe employees. The penalties can be very spendy. 


  • An employee is discharged, terminated or laid-off = the final paycheck is due not later than the end of the next business day.
  • If an employee quits with less than 48 hours notice = the paycheck is due within five business days, or on the next regular payday, whichever comes first.
  • If an employee quits with a notice of at least 48 hours = the final check is due on the final day worked, unless the last day falls on a weekend or holiday. In that case, the check is due on the next business day.

So what does this mean? You, the employer, are responsible for getting that last paycheck into the hands of your ex or soon to be ex-employee within the guidelines listed above. The best practice for this situation is to have a procedure in place that covers each of the above scenarios – and the proper staff and payroll service available to issue that “final paycheck.” BOLI does not accept excuses such as not having the employee’s final work hours calculated… or your admin’s at lunch or your bookkeeper is out on vacation!

So buckle up and get it right … OR, let Cardinal Services do your payroll.

Then those sudden goodbyes mean never having to say you’re sorry about not getting that check to them on time!