All employers in the State of California have a legal obligation to pay their employees the entire amount of wages owed for the time that they have worked and pay these wages in a timely manner. California employment laws and Labor Code protects worker’s rights to compensation, which includes the timeliness of wage distribution. When an employee and employer enter a contract for employment, this binding agreement requires an employer to pay the worker wages according to that contract.
Both state and federal laws govern what an employee must be paid, what information must be provided with a paycheck, and when the employee must be paid. Employers in California are not allowed to pay their employees late, and if they do so, they may face legal consequences. Find out how what to do when your employer does not pay you on time below.
Determining Timelines – In order to decide if an employer is late in their wage payments, a determination must first be made by the state when the company is required to make the payments and if the company has any valid reasons to be late. For example, if an employee failed to provide the correct information such as a bank account number, to receive a direct deposit, that will not be the employer’s fault if your check is late.
Most employers in California must be paid a minimum of twice a month. The paydays of every employee must be established prior to their first paycheck. If the employee is paid on an alternative work schedule, then the employer must pay the worker’s wages no later than 7 days after the pay period.
There are three types of pay given by an employer: regular pay, overtime, and final paychecks. If an employer is late on any types of these payments to an employee, the consequences differ.
You may choose to continue to work for your employer even though they have not paid you your wages in a timely manner. The decision to do so is a personal one, however, you always have the right to pursue any penalties regarding your delinquent wages.
If your employer has withheld regular wages, they may face the penalties listed above, which typically are payable directly to the State of California. However, as an employee, you may be able to recover up to 25% of these penalty amounts by filing a lawsuit under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). To obtain these penalty amounts, you must file a PAGA claim against your employer and follow specific guidelines established by the Labor Code (Sections 2698 – 2699.5). If you win your claim, you may be awarded 25% of the penalties owed to the state, plus any reasonable attorney fees. As a PAGA representative, you advance the claims on behalf of yourself and your fellow employees. If you are interested in pursuing such a claim, it is best to consult an experienced California employment lawyer.
If your employer has failed to issue you a final paycheck in a timely manner, you have the right to seek damages regarding your final wages. An employer in California must provide the final paycheck either on the last day or within 72 hours after the employee’s last day. All unused or accrued vacation time, as well as any other paid time off, must be included in this final paycheck. If your employer has not paid you a final paycheck, they may face the following penalties:
It is important to note that even if you receive your final paycheck late, you may still be entitled to a waiting time penalty if you do not receive all your compensation on time.
Your choices if you are facing an employer who has not paid your wages in a timely manner are to attempt to resolve the dispute directly with the employer, bring an administrative wage claim in California, or file a lawsuit regarding the unpaid wages and pursue penalties. Facing the challenge of an employer who has not paid you in a timely manner can be overwhelming and involve complex state laws and calculations. Contact V. James DeSimone Law at 310-693-5561 and visit with one of our experienced attorneys today regarding your legal rights if your employer has not paid your wages, overtime, or final paycheck in a timely manner.
Attorney V. James DeSimone is a 35+ year experienced civil rights & employment lawyer in Southern California. Jim is a Super Lawyer, Rated “Superb” by Avvo, and is a US News & World Report Best Law Firm in California.
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