Most companies reissue payroll checks for a certain amount of time after the date it was issued. When you find an old, uncashed paycheck, act fast to determine whether the company can reissue the check. There is a statute of limitations on how long companies must honor payroll obligations, and it can take some time for the company to review its old human resources records.
It is likely your company includes a note on the check that makes it valid for a certain period. For example, it might say "Void after 90 days." Look at the date on your paycheck to see if you found it soon enough to deposit it.
Statute of Limitations
The U.S. Department of Labor requires employers to provide back pay to previous or current employees for up to two years. Check the date on the check to see if it falls within that period. If so, you can take the check to the employer and request a new check. The company should be able to look through the records for your time sheets from that period and pull up old accounting records to void the old check and issue you a new one. Although it's still possible the company would reissue your check after two years, it is not required to do so. Most only keep payroll records for three years, so if your check is older than that, don't be surprised if the company rejects your request for a new check.
If the company that issued the check was bought out by another company, it's unlikely you can recoup your payroll money. During buyouts, any outstanding payouts that are older than the void period -- such as 90 days -- are added back into the general ledger to help close the accounts of the old company owners. The new company has its own set of accounts, which are unlikely to include old, expired obligations of the previous company.
If it has been longer than two years since the check was issued, visit the website of your state Department of Treasury's unclaimed property division. Companies often present unclaimed checks to the state. This gets the check off the company's books while keeping the funds available for you. Some companies present checks to the state after one year instead of two. To recoup money from the state, you must prove your identity, usually by sending a copy of your birth certificate or driver's license, and provide a valid address.