What Are Your Rights if Your Employer Isn’t Paying You?

Most workers live on a budget. They rely on a timely paycheck to pay their bills and take care of their families. By payday, most workers have spent their prior paycheck. Delays in payment by your employer can mean the rent or a mortgage isn’t paid, that food isn’t on the table, and that gas isn’t in the car. A delay of even a day or more can cause late payment fees.

Fortunately, California does have laws that require prompt and accurate payments by employers. Workers also have the right to prompt payment if they are terminated by their employer or leave a company voluntarily.  If your employer isn’t paying you on time or when your job ends, call our employment lawyers today. We’ll pursue your right to prompt payment of your salary or wages.

The pursuit of your rights includes speaking with your employer to determine if there is a valid contractual reason for the delay, a written employment policy, or if your employer just isn’t being cooperative. To discuss your right to ask for a medical or family leave for you or for others, call the Miracle Mile Law Group now.

California’s laws on the payment of wages

California requires that your wages be paid as follows:

  • Generally, you must be paid at least twice during each month – on specific designated days such as the second and fourth Fridays of the month. The dates of payment must be stated in a notice at the employer’s location that indicates when and where you’ll be paid.
  • The California Labor Code provides that you should be paid by the 26th of each month for work performed between the 1st and the 15th of the month. You should be paid by the 10th of the following month for work performed between the 16th and the end of the month.
  • Generally, if your employer pays employees weekly, every other week, or twice a month for work other than between the dates in the above paragraph – you should be paid within seven days of the end of the payroll period.
  • There are additional rules for when overtime must be paid.
  • If you’re discharged, all your wages (including any accrued vacation time) should be paid when you are terminated. Generally, you cannot claim compensation for any unused sick leave unless sick leave payment is part of your written contract. Employees who do seasonal work should be paid within 72 hours from the date of the seasonal layoff.
  • There are additional wage rules for employees in the motion production industry, the oil drilling industry, and certain entertainment venues.
  • There are other rules for employees who don’t have a written employment contract for a specific time period – if they give at least 72 hours of their intent to quit.

What remedies can employees assert for the non-timely payment of wages?

There are different types of remedies depending on your employment status and other factors. The best course of action is to contact our seasoned employment lawyers. We’ll explain your rights and what steps you should take to assert your rights. Your rights may depend on the laws we discussed above, other California laws, and federal employment laws. Your rights may also depend on a written employment contract.

Some common steps include:

  • Contacting the human resources department for your employer.
  • Contacting your union representative if you belong to a union.
  • Contacting the California Department of Industrial Relations
  • Contacting our respected California employment lawyers

What damages are you entitled to for the non-timely payment of your wages?

If your employer doesn’t pay you according to your contract, California law, or federal law; you may bd entitled to the following:

  • The wages that you earned
  • Any interest for the delay
  • A waiting time penalty – which, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations (same link as above), is your daily pay rate for each day your pay is delayed – up to 30 days. We’ll explain when you’re eligible for the penalty and when you’re not. The 30 days’ pay is more than most employees’ normal pay because most employees only work 5 days a week, not every day.

There are a few notes of caution:

  • Generally, California’s pay laws apply to employees but not to independent contractors.
  • Normally, your employer cannot force you to sign a release or impose any conditions if you are leaving the company or were terminated from the company. Any claims the employer may have for tools in your possession, for intellectual property, or to get you to waive claims you may have against your employer – should be handled separately.
  • You normally have the right to ask your employer to mail your last paycheck. Some employees prefer receiving their last paycheck by mail if they’ve been terminated.

To discuss your right to prompt payment of your wages or salary, call the Miracle Mile Law Group now. You can call us at (888) 244-0706 or contact us for a FREE consultation.