Advocating For The Rights Of Southern California Employees Since 2007

Understanding California’s final paycheck law

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2019 | Firm News |

Few professional occurrences have the potential to be as stressful as termination of employment. After all, you likely need a steady income to support both yourself and your family. If you live in California, though, you should not have to worry about your employer not paying you immediately. 

For many, job changes are part of life. In fact, according to a report from CNBC, nearly a third of workers in the United States regularly contemplate quitting their jobs. Whether you willingly or reluctantly leave your place of employment, you should understand California’s final paycheck law.  

Final paycheck basics 

Like many other states, California requires employers to provide departing workers with pay for all hours worked immediately or soon after the working relationship ends. As you may suspect, when your boss must hand over your paycheck depends on whether you voluntarily quit or your employer fires you.  

If your employer terminates your employment or lays you off, you must receive full pay immediately. The same is true if you provide at least 72 hours’ notice of your decision to leave. If you quit without giving your boss advance notice, though, your employer has 72 hours to pay you in full. Further, your employer must include all your pay in your final check, including overtime pay, paid time off and unused vacation. 

Penalties for noncompliance 

To encourage employers to comply with final paycheck rules, California law imposes some stiff penalties on those who ignore their obligations. That is, if your boss does not provide you with your final paycheck on time, your employer must pay a financial penalty of your average daily wage for every day that he or she is late in issuing the check. The penalty caps at 30 days, though.  

As you can see, California law protects both terminated employees and those who quit their jobs voluntarily. If your employer does not abide by the state’s final paycheck law, you must act quickly to receive what is rightfully yours.