California is often considered a progressive state, with a relatively high minimum wage, strong protections for employees, and a general embrace of unions and collective bargaining. In keeping with this reputation, California has fairly strict laws concerning when and how employers must pay employees.
This article takes a closer look at those laws as they relate to paydays and pay periods in California.
- 1 The Legal Background
- 2 What Are “Wages”?
- 3 When Regular Wages Must Be Paid
- 3.1 The Rule for Most Employees
- 3.2 Overtime and Unusual Hours
- 3.3 Exempt Employees
- 3.4 Unionized Employees
- 3.5 Sales Commissions
- 3.6 Temporary Service Employees (Temps)
- 3.7 Farm Laborers
- 3.8 Agricultural Workers
- 3.9 Stock and Poultry Workers
- 3.10 Household Domestic Service Workers
- 3.11 Car Salespeople
- 3.12 Striking Employees
- 4 When Final Wages Must Be Paid
- 5 Where Final Wages Must Be Paid
- 6 How Wages Must Be Paid
- 7 Consequences When Employers Violate the Law
- 8 Enforcing an Employee’s Rights
The Legal Background
Pay periods in California are controlled by both state and federal laws. On the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act1 (commonly referred to as the “FLSA”) provide wage and hour rules that apply to businesses across the country.
California law, on the other hand, is spread between the California Labor Code and several regulations (called “wages orders”) that have been adopted by California’s Industrial Welfare Commission—a former administrative division of California Labor Commissioner’s Office.2
California state laws usually offer more protection for workers than federal law. The minimum wage, for example, is significantly higher under state law than the minimum wage provided by federal law.3
When two sets of laws conflict, employers must comply with the standard that provides the greatest protection to employees, regardless of whether it is federal or state law.4 Because California law provides a higher standard than federal law, this article will focus on pay day and pay period laws under under California state law.
What Are “Wages”?
All forms of compensation for work are wages, including:
- Hourly pay,
- A fixed salary,
- Piece-rate payments, and
- Payment that varies by project or task.7
The term wages also includes benefits that an employee receives as a part of his or her compensation, including money, room, board, clothing, vacation pay, and sick pay.8
When Regular Wages Must Be Paid
The Rule for Most Employees
Most employees must be paid at least twice per month on dates the employer has designated in advance.9 These dates must be regular, and the employer is required to post a notice that shows the day, time, and location where employees can be paid.10
Employers, of course, can choose to pay wages more frequently. But, no matter how often an employer chooses to pay their employees, they must comply with a few important rules:
- Any wages that are earned between the 1st and 15th day of any month must be paid on or before the 26th of the same month, at the very latest.
- Any wages earned in last half of the month must be paid on or before the 10th day of the following month.11
Employers must pay their employees even if they do not submit their timecard on time—although the wages will be limited to what the employer reasonably knows they owe.
If a payday falls on a holiday, and the employer’s business is closed, then the employer is entitled to pay their employees on the following business day.
There are several exceptions to these rules, which are explained in more detail below.
Overtime and Unusual Hours
Overtime wages can sometimes be more difficult for employers to calculate than other types of wages. The same is true of all wages earned in excess of the normal work that an employee does.
As such, California law permits all wages earned for labor in excess of the normal work period to be paid on the payday for the next regular payroll period.12
Employees who are classified as “exempt” under federal law are subject to slightly different rules.13 An exempt employee is someone who occupies a job that is not subject to one or more sets of wage and hour laws.
In most cases, there are three simple requirements to determine whether a worker is an exempt employee under federal law:
- Minimum Salary. The employee must be paid a salary that is at least twice the federal minimum wage for full-time employment.14
- White-Collar Duties. The employee’s primary duties must consist of administrative, executive, or professional tasks.15
- Independent Judgment. The employee’s job duties must involve the use of discretion and independent judgment.16
If all three requirements are met, the employee will usually be classified as “exempt.” There are, however, many caveats to this test, which can be read about in our article Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees: Guide to California Law.
If an employee has been correctly classified as exempt, they are only entitled to be paid once per month.17
That payment must occur on or before the 26th day of the month. It must include the employee’s wages for the entire month—including the portion between the 26th day of the month and the end of the month that haven’t yet been fully earned by the employee.18
If the exempt employee is entitled to overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week, that overtime must be paid by the 26th day of the next calendar month, unless a collective bargaining agreement provide a different rule.19
In rare situations, employees that are considered “exempt” under state law, but not federal law, must be paid within seven days of the close of their monthly payroll period.20
Of course, employers can always choose to pay exempt employees more frequently than once a month.
When employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that provides for different pay arrangements, those arrangements will usually override the pay periods explained above.21 As such, unionized employees should consult their union’s collective bargaining agreement to determine their pay schedules.
A commission is a type of compensation paid to a person for sales-related services they render. In a commission-based arrangement, the size of the employee’s compensation depends on the amount or value of the thing that was sold.22
The conditions that must occur before a commission is earned are defined by the terms of the commission agreement.25 Once those conditions have been fulfilled, the commission is considered a wage and the employer is legally-obligated to pay it the same way they would any other wage.26
As such, earned commissions are subject to the same rules as regular wages: most commissions must be paid, in full, at least twice per month on dates the employer has designated in advance, unless an exception applies.27
Temporary Service Employees (Temps)
Temporary service employees (often called “temps”) are subject to slightly different rules than other employees.
A temporary services employee is someone who performs work for an agency that assigns them to perform services for different employers.28 If the employee works more than 90 days for a specific employer, they are no longer considered a temporary services employee.29
Temporary service employees are generally entitled to be paid on a weekly basis.30 In some situations, however, the employees are entitled to be paid on a daily basis, depending on the nature of their assignments.31
Employees who work for a farm labor contractor must be paid at least once every week. That pay day must fall on a business day designated in advance by the farm labor contractor.32
The paycheck must include all wages earned up to and including the fourth day before the employee’s payday.33
Employees who work in agricultural, viticultural, or horticultural pursuits are subject to special rules if their boarding and lodging are provided by the employer.34 Their wages usually must be paid once per calendar month. That payday must include all wages up to the regular payday.35
The employer must designate the employee’s payday in advance. Two successive paydays cannot be more than 31 days apart.36
Stock and Poultry Workers
Employees who work in stock or poultry raising are subject to special rules if their boarding and lodging are provided by the employer.37 Their wages generally must be paid once per calendar month. That payday must include all wages up to the regular payday.38
The employer must designate the employee’s payday in advance. Two successive paydays cannot be more than 31 days apart.39
Household Domestic Service Workers
Employees who work in household domestic services are subject to special rules if their boarding and lodging are provided by the employer.40 Their wages generally must be paid once per calendar month. That payday must include all wages up to the regular payday.41
The employer must designate the employee’s payday in advance. Two successive paydays cannot be more than 31 days apart.42
Most car salespeople earn a commission for the sales they make. Those commissions are subject to slightly different rules than other forms of payment.
If the employer is licensed as a vehicle dealer by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, car sales commissions must be paid once per month on a day designated in advance by the employer as the regular payday.43
If, however, the car salesperson is subject to a collective bargaining agreement that provides for the date on which wages shall be paid, that agreement will usually control when wages must be paid.44
When one or more employees go on strike, their earned but unpaid wages must be paid on the next regular payday. Employers are not allowed to reduce or deduct from their paychecks due to the strike.45
When Final Wages Must Be Paid
The timing of an employee’s final wages depend on the circumstances of their discharge.
When an employee is terminated by their employer, they are entitled to be paid immediately when the decision to terminate them is announced.46
When an employee suddenly quits, they are generally entitled to have their final wages paid within 72 hours of their resignation. If, however, they provide at least 72 hours of a notice to their employer of their intention to quit, they are entitled to have their full wages paid immediately at the time of quitting.47
If the employee requests to be paid by mail and designates a mailing address, the wages are considered paid on the date the mailing occurs.48
Employers are not required to offer vacation pay to their employees,51 but they must follow certain rules if they do.
If an employment agreement includes paid vacations, an employee is entitled to be paid wages for unused vacation time that has vested at the time the employee’s work ends.52 The right to a paid vacation vests as the employee performs the work that entitles the employee to a paid vacation.53
When employment is terminated, the employee is entitled to be paid for the portion of the employee’s unused paid vacation that the employee has earned.54
Certain Seasonal Employees
Employees who work seasonally and are laid off by their employer are sometimes not entitled to immediate payment when they are discharged.
If the employee is seasonally employed in the curing, canning, or drying of any variety of certain foods, their employer can pay them 72 hours after the termination, if that is how long it takes to calculate the employee’s payment.55
Employees in this situation have a right to have their final paycheck mailed to them if they request and provide an address for the employer to do so.56
Movie Industry Employees
In California, Hollywood rules, so it’s no surprise there are special laws for employees engaged in the production of movies.
Employees hired for a temporary job that relates to a specific movie production or broadcasting project are entitled to have their final wages paid at the next regular payday.57 In the final wages are mailed, the wages are considered paid on the date the mailing occurs.58
If, however, the employee is part of a union that provides for a different schedule of final payment, this rule might be a little different.59
Live Theater or Concert Employees
Employees who work at a venue that hosts live theater or concerts are sometimes subject to different rules regarding final wages if they are subject to a union or collective bargaining agreement.60 In those situations, the collective bargaining agreement will provide for the time limits that employers must abide by in terms of the employees’ final wages.
To be eligible for the rules of that agreement, however, the employee must be the kind of worker that is routinely dispatched to employment through a hiring hall or other system of regular short-term employment.61 Regular, long-term employees of live theater or concert venues are subject to the normal final wage rules.
Oil Drilling Employees
Employees who are engaged in the oil drilling business are entitled to have their final wages paid within 24 hours if they are laid off. If that 24-hour period ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, the payment must be made on the following business day.62
Additionally, oil drilling employees can request that their final wages be mailed to them. In the final wages are mailed, the wages are considered paid on the date the mailing occurs.63
Where Final Wages Must Be Paid
As is the case with timing concerns, the location of where an employee’s final wages must be given will depend on the circumstances of their discharge.
When an employer decides to terminate their employee, the employer must pay the employee at the location they were terminated.64 In other words, employees are entitled to be paid on the spot when they are fired or laid off. This will usually be the jobsite.
This appears to be true even if wages are normally directly deposited into the employee’s account. This is because, upon termination or quitting, payment of wages through direct deposit stop immediately unless the employee has specifically authorized it to continue.65
When an employee quits their job, they usually must be paid at the office or agency of the employer in the county where the employee has been performing labor.66
If, however, the employee requests that their final paycheck be mailed to them, the employer must send the wages to the address provided by the employee instead.67
Failed Attempts to Pay
In the unusual case that an employer has attempted to pay an employee their final wages but has been unable to locate them, the employer can send the paycheck to the closest office of the Labor Commissioner, with an explanation of its efforts and as much information as possible.
The office will then attempt to contact the employee. Failing that, the wages will be deposited in the Unclaimed Wages Fund (which is always worth checking to see if you have any unclaimed money).
How Wages Must Be Paid
Most employers pay wages by using a company check or a check issued by a payroll service from the employer’s payroll account.
Employers are permitted to pay wages by means of a personal check or in cash,68 but they are not permitted to make “under the table” payments. Whether wages are paid by cash or by check, employers are required by state and federal law to withhold payroll taxes.69
If the employer pays by check, that check must be negotiable and payable in cash—on demand and without any fee—at some established place of business in the state.70 The name of the bank at which the employee may cash the check must appear on it.71
Employers are prohibited from paying their employees’ wages with any coupon, card, merchandise, or other object if it is not redeemable for money.72 And no fee can be charged to the employee to redeem it.
What Wage Statements Must Contain
All employees must be given a wage statement with each wage payment, regardless of whether the wages are paid by check or cash.73 The wage statement must show:
- Gross and net wages paid,
- The number of hours worked during the pay period,
- The number of pieces for which the employee is being paid (if the employee is paid a piece rate), and
- Any deductions made from gross pay (like payroll taxes).74
Receiving Comp Time Instead of Wages
In some situations, an employee can choose to be paid in the form of paid time off, rather than being paid overtime.75 This is sometimes referred to as comp time (or compensating time).
An employer cannot require an employee to take paid time off (compensating time or “comp time”) instead of being paid overtime.76 But an employee may request comp time if all of the following conditions are met:
- The compensating time off is provided pursuant to a written agreement between the employer and employee (or the employee’s union) before the performance of the work.77
- The employee has not accrued more than 240 hours of comp time.78
- The employee made a written request to the employer asking for compensating time off in lieu of overtime compensation.79
- The employee is regularly scheduled to work no less than 40 hours in a workweek.80
If any of these conditions are not met, the employee must be paid the overtime rate they would otherwise be entitled to under the law.81
Compensating time must equal the overtime rate. In other words, if an employee is entitled to an overtime rate of time-and-a-half, the employee must be given an hour-and-a-half of paid time off for each hour of overtime that the employee worked.82
Employer’s Obligation to Keep Records
Having the right to inspect the employer’s records helps employees make a claim for unpaid wages.
Consequences When Employers Violate the Law
Employees who have been underpaid may be entitled to several types of relief. Likewise, employers can face harsh penalties for failing to comply with their legal obligations. A few of those consequences are described below.
Waiting Time Penalties
If the employee was underpaid at the time the employment ends (i.e., because they were fired or they quit), they are entitled to a “waiting time” penalty.85
The waiting time penalty consists of a full day of wages for each day that payment is delayed. The penalty continues to accrue for as much as 30 days after discharge, depending on when payment is fully satisfied.86
The waiting time penalty is calculated by computing the employee’s daily wage rate and then multiplying it by the number of days that payment is delayed, up to a maximum of 30 days.87
This penalty, however, only accrues if the employer’s failure to pay the employee was “willful.”88 An act is willful, in this context, if the employer intentionally failed or refused to pay an amount they owed to the employee.89
This doesn’t mean that the employer had to act with a deliberately bad or fraudulent purpose in failing to pay their employee. Rather, they just have to fail to pay wages they reasonably should have known were due.90
An employer’s failure to pay an employee their wages is not willful if A failure to pay is not willful if they have a good faith mistaken belief that wages are not owed.91 But even if some of the wages are disputed in good faith, the employer is required to pay the employee any wages that are not in dispute (that is, what each agrees is owed at minimum).92
In some cases, when an employer severely violates the wage or payday rights of their employees, the employer can be charged with a crime.
For example, it is a misdemeanor in California for an employer to require an employee to sign a settlement agreement or a waiver of their rights in exchange for wages that the employee has already earned.93
Employers owe specific duties under the law, including a requirement to post a payday notice and paying wages in accordance with the pay day. Failure to do so can result in a misdemeanor charge. Labor Code §215. Therefore, by contacting a lawyer or the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, you will be able to determine the next steps to take if you feel you have been taken advantage of by your employer.
Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) Claims
In some cases, the employer fails to pay wages in full or on-time and the employee continues work for the employer. In these situations, the waiting time penalty doesn’t apply.94 Instead, the employer may be liable for statutory fines.
If an employer fails to pay their employees’ wages as required by law, they are subject to a civil penalty in the following amounts:
- First Violation. For any initial violation, the employer must pay $100 for each failure to pay each employee.95
- Subsequent Violations. For each subsequent violation, or any willful or intentional violation, the employer must pay $200 for each failure to pay each employee, plus 25% of the amount unlawfully withheld.96
In general, these penalties are payable to the State of California.97 However, an employee can sometimes recover up to 25% of the penalty by bringing a lawsuit under the Private Attorneys General Act.98 These are called “PAGA” claims.
A employee may bring a PAGA claim by filing a civil lawsuit against their employer.99 To do this, however, the employee must first follow certain procedures, which are described in Labor Code sections 2698 through 2699.5.
If the employee wins, the court may award them 25% of the penalty due under the statute, plus reasonable attorney fees and litigation costs.100 Many attorneys take these kinds of cases on a contingency basis, without any upfront fees.
Enforcing an Employee’s Rights
Retaliation is Prohibited
Employees who do not receive their payments in full and on time as required by law have a right to bring the issue to their employer’s attention and request full compliance with their wage rights. Employers are legally prohibited from retaliating against employees who request the timely payment of their wages.101
Employees are also protected from retaliation if they file a complaint with a governmental agency or a lawsuit in court alleging a violation of their wage rights.102 This means that an employee cannot be punished, fired, or treated unfairly for exercising their rights.
Filing a Claim
Employees who believe they have been the victim of a payday or pay period violation have three basic options:
- By resolving the dispute informally with the employer,
- By filing a lawsuit in court, or
- By bringing an administrative claim for unpaid wages and penalties.103
The procedure for filing an administrative wage claim is explained in our article How to File a Wage & Hour Claim in California. The pros and cons of wage claims and civil lawsuits are also discussed in that article.
Of course, the best way to resolve a wage dispute will depend on the employee’s specific situation. It’s usually a good idea to get the opinion of a lawyer before deciding how to proceed.
Deadline to File
In many cases, it is important to act fast because claims based on unpaid wages can expire. This expiration period is called a statute of limitations. The applicable statute of limitations will depend on the type of claim the employee pursues.
In general, a claim or lawsuit must be filed within three years of the alleged violation.104 If the employee is enforcing the breach of a written employment contract, the statute of limitations is four years.105
In some cases, litigants seek to extend the statute of limitations in their wage and hour claim by bringing the claim under California’s Unfair Competition Law.106 Those claims must be brought within four years.107 It is usually better, however, to bring claims earlier, if possible, so as to avoid relying on this kind of claim in case it turns out to be inapplicable.
29 U.S.C. §§ 201 219.Footnote 1
See 8 Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, §§ 11010 et seq.Footnote 2
Compare 29 U.S.C. § 206(a)(1)(C) [providing a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour] with Labor Code § 1182.12, subd. (b) [providing for a minimum wage of $10.00 or more, depending on the year and the size of the employer].Footnote 3
29 U.S.C. § 218(a); Aguilar v. Association for Retarded Citizens (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 21, 34–35.Footnote 4
Labor Code, § 200, subd. (a).Footnote 5
Labor Code, § 200, subd. (b) [“‘Labor’ includes labor, work, or service whether rendered or performed under contract, subcontract, partnership, station plan, or other agreement if the labor to be paid for is performed personally by the person demanding payment.”].Footnote 6
Labor Code, § 200, subd. (a).Footnote 7
Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1094, 1103 [“Courts have recognized that ‘wages’ also include those benefits to which an employee is entitled as a part of his or her compensation, including money, room, board, clothing, vacation pay, and sick pay.”].Footnote 8
Labor Code, § 204, subd. (a).Footnote 9
Labor Code, § 207.Footnote 10
Labor Code, § 204, subd. (a).Footnote 11
Labor Code, § 204, subd. (b) [“Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, all wages earned for labor in excess of the normal work period shall be paid no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period.”].Footnote 12
Labor Code, §§ 204, subd. (a), 204c; see 29 U.S.C § 213 [federal exemptions].Footnote 13
29 U.S.C. § 206(a)(1)(C); 29 C.F.R. §§ 541.600(a), 541.602(a).Footnote 14
See 29 C.F.R. § 541.601(a)(2).Footnote 15
29 C.F.R. § 541.202(a).Footnote 16
Labor Code, § 204, subd. (a) [“[S]alaries of executive, administrative, and professional employees of employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, as set forth pursuant to Section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended through March 1, 1969, in Part 541 of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as that part now reads or may be amended to read at any time hereafter, may be paid once a month on or before the 26th day of the month during which the labor was performed if the entire month’s salaries, including the unearned portion between the date of payment and the last day of the month, are paid at that time.”].Footnote 17
Labor Code, § 204, subd. (a).Footnote 18
Labor Code, § 204.2.Footnote 19
Labor Code, § 204c.Footnote 20
Labor Code, § 204, subd. (c).Footnote 21
Labor Code § 204.1 [“Commission wages are compensation paid to any person for services rendered in the sale of such employer’s property or services and based proportionately upon the amount or value thereof.”].Footnote 22
Labor Code, § 200, subd. (a); Sciborski v. Pacific Bell Directory (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 1152, 1166 [“[S]ales commissions are considered ‘wages.'”].Footnote 23
See, e.g., Labor Code, §§ 201, subd. (a), 204, subd. (a), 221; see also Labor Code, § 203 [penalty for failing to pay wages on time].Footnote 24
Koehl v. Verio, Inc. (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1313, 1335 [“A commission is ‘earned’ when the employee has perfected the right to payment; that is, when all of the legal conditions precedent have been met. Such conditions precedent are a matter of contract between the employer and employee, subject to various limitations imposed by common law or statute.”].Footnote 25
Sciborski v. Pacific Bell Directory (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 1152, 1167 [“[O]nce the express contractual conditions are satisfied, the commission is considered a wage and an employer cannot recoup the commission once it has been paid to the employee.”].Footnote 26
Labor Code, § 204, subd. (a).Footnote 27
Labor Code, § 201.3, subd. (a).Footnote 28
Labor Code, § 201.3, subd. (b)(6).Footnote 29
Labor Code, § 201.3, subd. (b)(1)(A).Footnote 30
Labor Code, § 201.3, subd. (b).Footnote 31
Labor Code, § 205 [“Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, wages of workers employed by a farm labor contractor shall be paid on payroll periods at least once every week on a business day designated in advance by the farm labor contractor.”].Footnote 32
Labor Code, § 205 [“Payment on such payday shall include all wages earned up to and including the fourth day before such payday.”].Footnote 33
Labor Code, § 205.Footnote 34
Labor Code, § 205; but see Labor Code, §205.5 [providing different rules for certain types of wages].Footnote 35
Labor Code, § 205.Footnote 36
Labor Code, § 205.Footnote 37
Labor Code, § 205.Footnote 38
Labor Code, § 205.Footnote 39
Labor Code, § 205.Footnote 40
Labor Code, § 205.Footnote 41
Labor Code, § 205.Footnote 42
Labor Code, § 204.1 [“Commission wages paid to any person employed by an employer licensed as a vehicle dealer by the Department of Motor Vehicles are due and payable once during each calendar month on a day designated in advance by the employer as the regular payday.”].Footnote 43
Labor Code, § 204.1.Footnote 44
Labor Code, § 209.Footnote 45
Labor Code, § 201.Footnote 46
Labor Code, § 202, subd. (a).Footnote 47
Labor Code, § 202, subd. (a).Footnote 48
Suastez v. Plastic Dress-Up Co. (1982) 31 Cal.3d 774, 779 [“It is established that vacation pay is not a gratuity or a gift, but is, in effect, additional wages for services performed.”].Footnote 49
Suastez v. Plastic Dress-Up Co. (1982) 31 Cal.3d 774, 780 [“[V]acation pay is simply a form of deferred compensation.”].Footnote 50
Henry v. Amrol, Inc. (1990) 222 Cal.App.3d Supp. 1, 5 [the law “does not require that an employer include a paid vacation as a portion of his employees’ compensation”].Footnote 51
Labor Code § 227.3.Footnote 52
Suastez v. Plastic Dress-Up Co. (1982) 31 Cal.3d 774, 784 [“Case law from this state and others, as well as principles of equity and justice, compel the conclusion that a proportionate right to a paid vacation ‘vests’ as the labor is rendered. Once vested, the right is protected from forfeiture by section 227.3.”]Footnote 53
Suastez v. Plastic Dress-Up Co. (1982) 31 Cal.3d 774, 784 [“On termination of employment, therefore, the statute requires that an employee be paid in wages for a pro rata share of his vacation pay.”].Footnote 54
Labor Code, § 201, subd. (a).Footnote 55
Labor Code, § 201, subd. (a).Footnote 56
Labor Code, § 201.5, subd. (a)(1), (b).Footnote 57
Labor Code, § 201.5, subd. (c).Footnote 58
Labor Code, § 201.5, subd. (e).Footnote 59
Labor Code, § 201.9.Footnote 60
Labor Code, § 201.9.Footnote 61
Labor Code, § 201.7.Footnote 62
Labor Code, § 201.7.Footnote 63
Labor Code, § 208.Footnote 64
Labor Code, § 213, subd. (d) [“If an employer discharges an employee or the employee quits the employer may pay the wages earned and unpaid at the time the employee is discharged or quits by making a deposit authorized pursuant to this subdivision, provided that the employer complies with the provisions of this article relating to the payment of wages upon termination or quitting of employment.”].Footnote 65
Labor Code, § 208.Footnote 66
Labor Code, § 202, subd. (a).Footnote 67
Other types of compensation—such as stock options and profit sharing—are beyond the scope of this article. Employees should consult an employment lawyer if they need advice about any form of unpaid compensation.Footnote 68
Labor Code, § 224 [authorizing payroll tax deductions from wages].Footnote 69
Labor Code, § 212, subd. (a)(1).Footnote 70
Labor Code, § 212, subd. (a)(1).Footnote 71
Labor Code, § 212, subd. (a)(2).Footnote 72
Labor Code, § 226, subd. (a).Footnote 73
Labor Code, § 226, subd. (a) [“An employer, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages, shall furnish to his or her employee, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, or separately if wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing showing (1) gross wages earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee, except as provided in subdivision (j), (3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis, (4) all deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item, (5) net wages earned, (6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid, (7) the name of the employee and only the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number, (8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer and, if the employer is a farm labor contractor, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer, and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee and, beginning July 1, 2013, if the employer is a temporary services employer as defined in Section 201.3, the rate of pay and the total hours worked for each temporary services assignment.”].Footnote 74
Labor Code, § 204.3.Footnote 75
Labor Code, § 204.3, subd. (b).Footnote 76
Labor Code, § 204.3, subd. (b)(1).Footnote 77
Labor Code, § 204.3, subds. (b), (c).Footnote 78
Labor Code, § 204.3, subd. (b)(3) [“The employee has requested, in writing, compensating time off in lieu of overtime compensation.”].Footnote 79
Labor Code, § 204.3, subd. (b)(4).Footnote 80
Labor Code, § 204.3, subds. (b).Footnote 81
Labor Code, § 204.3, subd. (a) [“An employee may receive, in lieu of overtime compensation, compensating time off at a rate of not less than one and one-half hours for each hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required by law. If an hour of employment would otherwise be compensable at a rate of more than one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of compensation, then the employee may receive compensating time off commensurate with the higher rate.”].Footnote 82
Labor Code, § 226, subd. (a) [“[A] copy of the statement and the record of the deductions shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California. For purposes of this subdivision, ‘copy’ includes a duplicate of the itemized statement provided to an employee or a computer-generated record that accurately shows all of the information required by this subdivision.”].Footnote 83
Labor Code, § 226, subd. (b) [“An employer that is required by this code or any regulation adopted pursuant to this code to keep the information required by subdivision (a) shall afford current and former employees the right to inspect or copy records pertaining to their employment, upon reasonable request to the employer. The employer may take reasonable steps to ensure the identity of a current or former employee. If the employer provides copies of the records, the actual cost of reproduction may be charged to the current or former employee.”].Footnote 84
Labor Code, § 203.Footnote 85
Labor Code, § 203, subd. (a).Footnote 86
Mamika v. Barca (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 487, 493 [“[T]he critical computation required by section 203 is the calculation of a daily wage rate, which can then be multiplied by the number of days of nonpayment, up to 30 days.”].Footnote 87
Labor Code, § 203, subd. (a).Footnote 88
Ghory v. Al-Lahham (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 1487, 1492Footnote 89
Road Sprinkler Fitters Local Union No. 669 v. G & G Fire Sprinklers, Inc. (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 765, 781 [“[‘Willful’] does not mean that the employer’s refusal to pay wages must necessarily be based on a deliberate evil purpose to defraud workers of wages which the employer knows to be due.”].Footnote 90
Road Sprinkler Fitters Local Union No. 669 v. G & G Fire Sprinklers, Inc. (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 765, 782 [“An employer’s good faith mistaken belief that wages are not owed may negate a finding of willfulness.”].Footnote 91
Labor Code, § 206.Footnote 92
Labor Code, § 206.5 [“An employer shall not require the execution of a release of a claim or right on account of wages due, or to become due, or made as an advance on wages to be earned, unless payment of those wages has been made. A release required or executed in violation of the provisions of this section shall be null and void as between the employer and the employee. Violation of this section by the employer is a misdemeanor.”].Footnote 93
See Labor Code, § 203 [applying only to aFootnote 94
Labor Code, §§ 210, subd. (a)(1), 225, subd. (a).Footnote 95
Labor Code, §§ 210, subd. (a)(2), 225, subd. (b).Footnote 96
Labor Code, §§ 210, 225.Footnote 97
Labor Code, §§ 2698–2699.5.Footnote 98
Labor Code, § 2699, subd. (a).Footnote 99
Labor Code, § 2699, subds. (g), (i).Footnote 100
Labor Code, § 98.6, subd. (a) [“A person shall not discharge an employee or in any manner discriminate, retaliate, or take any adverse action against any employee or applicant for employment because . . . of the exercise by the employee or applicant for employment on behalf of himself, herself, or others of any rights afforded him or her.”].Footnote 101
Labor Code, § 98.6, subd. (a).Footnote 102
Post v. Palo/Haklar & Associates (2000) 23 Cal.4th 942, 946 [“[I]f an employer fails to pay wages in the amount, time, or manner required by contract or statute, the employee may seek administrative relief by filing a wage claim with the commissioner or, in the alternative, may seek judicial relief by filing an ordinary civil action for breach of contract and/or for the wages prescribed by statute.”].Footnote 103
Labor Code, § 226.7; Code Civ. Proc., § 338; Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1094, 1110–1111.Footnote 104
Code of Civ. Proc., § 337.Footnote 105
See Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200, et seq.Footnote 106
Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17208 [“Any action to enforce any cause of action pursuant to this chapter shall be commenced within four years after the cause of action accrued. No cause of action barred under existing law on the effective date of this section shall be revived by its enactment.”].Footnote 107