I remember working odd summer jobs during college to pay the rent so that I did not have to move home. I was just thinking about one employer I worked for that always seemed to have payroll issues. Now, I do not think the mistakes were intentional, but they did cause me to have a few hard times coming up with rent when I had to complain and get my correct pay. With the closing few weeks of summer upon us, I thought it would be a good time to review a few requirements under California law when employers must pay wages.

Normal Payroll Deadlines

California law requires that employers pay employees at least twice during each calendar month. Paydays must be designated by the employer and posted at the worksite, as required under Labor Code 207. Labor Code section 204 requires the following:

  • Wages earned between the 1st and 15th of the month must be paid no later than the 26th day of the month work was done.
  • Wages earned between the 16th and last day of the month must be paid by the 10th of the following month.

If the employer pays on a different basis, such as weekly, every two weeks, or twice a month, when the pay period is something other than the 1st to the 15th and the 16th to the end of the month, then the employee must be paid within seven calendar days of the end of the of the payroll period. See Labor Code section 204(b).

Pay Due Upon Termination or Resignation

An employee who is terminated must be paid all wages and accrued vacation at the time of termination. Labor Code section 201. An employee who quits without giving more than 72 hours of notice, must be paid all wages and accrued vacation within 72 hours of quitting. Labor Code section 202. An employee who quits, but gives 72 hours of notice before quitting, must be paid at the time of quitting.

The penalty for non-compliance with Labor Code sections 201 and 202 provides that the employee is entitled to the amount of wages he or she would have continued to earn at their normal rate for each day that the employer does not pay the wages. These penalties accrue up to 30 days’ worth of wages. Labor Code section 203.