California Final Paycheck Law 2024 – Rights and Obligations for Employees

California Final Paycheck Law 2024 – Rights and Obligations for Employees
Feb 26, 2024

Leaving a job can be equal parts stressful and exciting, especially if it is on your own terms. A sudden, drastic change in your life can bring a new set of worries for the future, but you should look at it as a new chapter in your life to be excited about. When leaving your job, your employer must give you your final paycheck. If they fail to do so or deduct unfair amounts from it, contact an employment lawyer for help with a claim.

Final Paycheck Laws in California

California’s laws provide more protection for employees than most other states. The Golden State has very strict labor laws that are designed to protect employees from any kind of unfair or discriminatory behavior from employers. Those laws are in full effect when it comes to employees’ final paychecks. According to state law, every employee must receive their final paychecks as soon as possible. Employers are subject to civil claims if they fail to do so.

If employees are fired or let go from their job in any way, they must receive their final check on the same day they are terminated in California. If they quit their job voluntarily, the employer has 72 hours to give them their final check. If the employee gave more than 72 hours’ notice that they were quitting, the employer has to give them their final check on their last day.

What Is Included and What Is Deducted?

Your final paycheck may have more or less than you expected. It may include the sum total of any remaining benefits you had, or it may have some unfair deductions. The following is a quick list of what you can expect from your final check.

  • All remaining wages you are owed.
  • Any business expenses you are owed.
  • Any commission payments you may be expecting, on top of your salary.
  • The dollar value of your remaining vacation days, sick time, and other forms of paid time off.

Here is a list of what might be deducted from your final check. Some of these are perfectly legal and expected, while some might be against California labor laws:

  • Standard state tax and federal tax deductions.
  • Any payments mandated by a court of law, such as child support.
  • Compensation for any damaged or stolen property belonging to the company, but only if you were directly responsible for it.

Any other deductions from your check might be illegal, and any employer who fails to provide you with the full amount on your final check will face harsh penalties for it. Refusing to provide you with the proper compensation that you are owed opens the employer up to the possibility of a claim. Having an experienced lawyer on your side will help them see you are serious about legal action.

Waiting Time Penalties

If your employer fails to provide you with the full amount of your final check within 72 hours of your last day of employment, you are entitled to “waiting time penalties.” At this point, you are owed a full day’s worth of your pay for every day you are forced to wait for your final check. These penalties have a limit of 30 days, but they start to add up quickly if the employer is not prompt in their delivery of your check.

California Final Paycheck Law FAQs

Q: What Are the Rules for Final Paychecks in California?

A: Your final check should include the cash value of all of your remaining paid time off, including vacation and sick days, as well as any commission payments you may have accrued during your time there. Your employer has properly compensated you when they have paid you absolutely everything you are owed under the California Labor Code.

Q: How Long Does an Employer Have to Pay You Your Last Check In California?

A: Under California state law, your employer has 72 hours from the day you were terminated to give you your final check with the full amount you are owed. If your employer fails to do this, you can file a wage claim and become entitled to a full day’s pay for every day you have to wait for that check, with a maximum of 30 days.

Q: What Is the Law on Late Paychecks in California?

A: Under California state law, employers have 30 days to send you the full amount owed in your final check. During that time, you are entitled to “waiting time penalties,” in which you are owed a full day’s pay for every single day you are forced to wait for your employer to send you your final check. This applies even if you receive the check but the full amount is incorrect or if there is some other mistake that prohibits you from depositing it.

Q: What Happens if I Don’t Get Paid After I Quit?

A: If you do not receive your final check within the 30-day waiting time penalty period, you can file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, or you can file a claim in court against your employer with the help of an employment lawyer. You have the right to claim financial damages related to your final salary, and an experienced lawyer can help you weigh your options and decide what avenue will have the most favorable outcome for your situation.

Talk to an Experienced Employment Lawyer Today

Not receiving your final check or receiving an incorrect final check can be a difficult situation to navigate. You may not want to burn any potential bridges with your former employer, but you are still owed proper compensation for your time at that job. Withholding your final check or making you wait for it is simply not fair to you or to the time you spent working for that employer.

The attorneys at Hennig Kramer LLP, can help you navigate these overwhelming circumstances and reach an informed decision that works for you. Contact us as soon as you can to schedule a consultation. We are here to help.

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