Navigating the intricacies of employment law can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding your rights regarding final paychecks.
In California, the law is clear and offers strong protections for employees. Let’s break down what you need to know.
The requirement for immediate payment
Unlike many other states, California requires that your final paycheck be provided immediately upon termination. This rule applies regardless of whether you are fired or resign. If you are laid off or quit without prior notice, your employer must give you your final paycheck at the time of termination.
Exceptions to the immediate payment rule
However, there are some exceptions. If you provide at least 72 hours of notice before resigning, your employer must give you your final paycheck at the moment of your departure. If you quit without such notice, the employer has 72 hours to provide your final paycheck. This can be done either in person or via mail if you request it.
What should be included?
Your final paycheck isn’t just your last period’s earnings. It must include all your unpaid wages, including overtime, bonuses and accrued vacation pay. The law does not allow employers to withhold any part of the paycheck as a penalty or for final expenses.
Penalties for late payment
The law is stringent about late final paychecks. If your employer fails to pay your final wages on time, you may be entitled to a full day’s pay for each day the payment is late, up to a maximum of 30 days. This penalty is known as the “waiting time” penalty and is calculated based on your daily rate of pay.
If you find yourself in a situation where your final paycheck is delayed or incorrect, knowing where to turn is essential. Getting help to understand your rights and options can assist in recovering unpaid wages.