Can an Employer Pay Me Late in California?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Sep 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

Under California employment law, all employers have a legal obligation to pay employees the entire amount of wages they've earned and to pay these wages on time. Workers in California are protected to the full extent due to the state's expansive worker's rights, which cover various aspects of wage distribution. When you must be paid, what information must be provided with your paycheck, and wage and hour laws, are all covered by statutory laws.

So, can an employer pay you late in California? The simple answer is no. California labor laws require most workers to be paid a minimum of twice per month. If your employer makes you wait for a paycheck, the employer may be subject to instituted penalties that you'll be entitled to collect.

Penalties for Late Paychecks

For an employer to be charged with a penalty, the state will first determine if the company or organization has a valid reason for the delayed payment. For example, if the employer isn't technically at fault for the late payment, or if you failed to provide or incorrectly provided information that is necessary to get your check.

There are also exceptions applied for workers who earn commission, and for exempt employees -executive, administrative, and professional workers. But for everyone else, the rules dictate the following:

Regular paychecks

If an employer can't justify withholding your pay, it will be charged for a penalty of $100 for an initial violation, and an additional $200 for subsequent violations in accordance with labor laws (Labor Code Section 210). An employer may also be asked to pay additional fees on top of penalties in some situations. It's important to note that even if you and your employer are in a dispute about the amount of wages you're owed, the company is legally bound to pay the entire amount of wages to you on time to avoid penalties.


Employers are allotted a grace period for late overtime wages. A company won't be penalized if overtime pay is paid no later than the date of your next regular paycheck.

Final Paychecks

The majority of companies in California are adamant about issuing a final paycheck to workers either on the last day of employment or within the last week of employment. This is because withholding a final paycheck warrants a very harsh repercussion known as a “waiting time” penalty. This penalty could potentially amount to two pay periods worth of wages if a final paycheck is late.

The bottom line is, you have options when faced with a late paycheck. You have every right to seek damages for the pay that you are entitled to getting on time. If your check is being illegally withheld from you and aren't sure about your next steps, contact the California labor and employment law attorneys at Shouse Law Group today. You can reach us online or you can give us a call at 855-396-0370.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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