What Are My Rights if My Employer Isn’t Paying Me?

You work hard every hour, every day, and every week. You have a right to expect that your employer will pay you on time – so you can pay your bills, support, your family, and enjoy life. When your California employer fails to pay you according to the agreed payment periods, there are actions you can take to obtain your pay – starting with contacting our experienced employment laws. Our team will answer your questions, explain your rights, and pursue your right to payment.

Your right to pay while you are employed by your company

Employees have the right from day they start throughout their employment to know when they will be paid and how much they will be paid. Generally, the timing of your pay is based on company policy – meaning that all employees should be paid at the same time. Most employers pay their employees weekly, every two weeks, or twice a month. Some employers may just pay monthly.

If you have a written contract, you should be paid according to the terms of the written contract. If your work is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, your pay is covered by that agreement. The Fair Labor Standards Act generally covers minimum wage and other employee rights issues. California has its own laws that govern minimum wage pay and overtime pay. Other laws protect different types of workers. For example, agricultural workers in California are normally required to be paid once a week.

California Labor Codes – Sections 201 and 203 provide employees with an additional right – to help ensure timely payment. If employees improperly delay your last paycheck, they may be required to pay a penalty for each day they have yet to pay you your full wages – up to 30 days of your average daily pay – or about 1.5 months of income.

In some cases, your pay may be justifiably delayed by a day or two if the payday is a Holiday or a weekend – until the next business day. If your employer is occasionally late, you’ll need to talk with your employer – normally the employer’s payroll person/department or the human resources company. If the payment is more than a few days late, or is frequently late, then call our employment lawyers. Sometimes, a call or a letter can expedite your payment. In some cases, a lawsuit may be required.

Your right to pay if your employer terminates you – your final paycheck

Generally, if you voluntarily leave a company or your employer discharges you, you should be paid on your last day of work.

Some delays in payment of your final paycheck may be permitted based on a written contract, a collective bargaining agreement, or company policy (for all employees, not just you).

Some of the reasons an employer may justifiably delay your pay include that the employer reserved the right to determine if you returned all the equipment, company clothing, and other company items that you were required to return. [There seems to be a split on this point in the linked articles the firm provided].

If your employer hasn’t paid you, even though you’ve complied with all the company requirements, then your options will include:

  • Speaking with the payroll/human resources department.
  • Speaking with your union representative who may file a claim on your behalf
  • Speaking with our experienced employment lawyers. We’ll explain what federal and California laws may apply. Employees always have the right to file a breach of employment claim. This claim is based on the work you did and the wages you were entitled to receive.

If you leave your employment without giving your employer notice, your employer will have some time to pay you – generally, about 72 hours.

If you do give your employer timely notice, then your employer should have your paycheck for you on your last day of work. The final paycheck should include any overtime or double-time pay that is due. The paycheck should also include any unused vacation time and holiday pay. The final paycheck will not include any unused sick pay – unless there is a written agreement or collective bargaining agreement that covers sick pay.

You should be able to receive you last paycheck without any conditions such as agreeing to waive any employment rights or any other legal rights.

Some employees want to avoid any confrontation with their employer when they leave the company. You have the right to ask your employer to mail your final paycheck to your home address.

If your employer fails to pay you what you earned, call the Miracle Mile Law Group now. You can reach us at (888) 244-0706 or contact us to schedule a FREE consultation.