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The law dictates when wages must be paid

Far too many Californians are living paycheck-to-paycheck. These individuals and their families rely on consistent and timely payment of their wages just to make ends meet. When they aren’t paid when they are supposed to be paid, they can face devastating financial consequences. They may miss their rent or mortgage payment, be late on their car payment, and even struggle to keep the lights on and put food on the table. Yet, late payments can affect all employees in California, which is why the state has implemented laws regulating when workers must be paid.

Under California law, wages must be paid twice a month at a minimum. Paydays must be announced in advance, and employers must post a notice of these days. The law even specifies that wages that are earned between the first day of the month and the 15th day of the month must be paid before the 27th of the month.

But, the law doesn’t stop there. The law regulates when overtime must be paid, too. Employers must pay overtime earned no later than the payday following the payroll period during which the overtime pay was earned. Additionally, employees who are fired from their job must be paid all outstanding wages, including any paid time off, such as vacation leave, immediately upon the employee leaving the company. There are exceptions to these general rules, though, which primarily apply to those in the agricultural industry, executive and professional workers, and those who may work on commission.

These laws may seem pretty straightforward and, quite honestly, rarely used. Yet, many employers try to cheat their employees by withholding payments or paying wages extremely late. These actions have very real consequences for California workers. This is why those who feel like they have been wronged by their employer should consider discussing their situation with an experienced legal professional who may be able to help them set the matter right.

Source: State of California Department of Industrial Relations, “Paydays, pay periods, and the final wages,” accessed on May 13, 2017


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