I am assuming that you are referring to a sales professional who began a transaction and was terminated before the transaction was completed.
Most companies have their own guidelines for such matters. If you do not have an agreement with your employee in this regard and it is not covered in your employee manual, then you should use your best judgment to be fair.
What you determine should be based on the normal sales cycle. How long does it take to close a sale, as a general rule? Being fair may mean paying out the entire commission if the sale is closed within 30 days and 50 percent if the sale takes 60 days to close.
It may mean paying a percentage if the sales closes within 30 days and no commission if it takes more than 30 days. What you want to do is set a precedent with which you can live for the long-term and avoid making the ex-employee feel exploited enough to file a claim with the Department of Labor for non-payment of wages. While such a claim may not prevail, it can be time-consuming to take on that kind of dispute.
You need to pay them with a paycheck if they were an employee.
Question added to topic Human Resources • July 21, 2009
Are there guidelines for paying an employee 30-60 days after termination?
About 30 to 60 days after an employee has been terminated, they are to receive compensation on a file that they started prior to termination. Can I pay them as a 1099, and if so do I need to obtain a W-9 form, or do I still have to create a paycheck for them as usual?
Penny is a seasoned human resources executive and consultant with over 25 years of diverse business experience in advising enterprise leaders on employment-related matters.