California Final Paycheck Law (2024) Explained

Facebook Twitter linkedin Instagram

Leaving a job to pursue other endeavors can be intimidating, but it may also be a necessary and exciting change. Meeting new people and adjusting to a new work environment can be stressful, but the situation can become much more challenging if your last employer fails to give you your final paycheck. It’s essential to understand the final paycheck law in California so you know your rights, and a wage and hour lawyer in Glendale, CA, can assist you with any problems you have.

Explaining the 2024 Final Paycheck Law in California

According to California law, employees who leave their jobs are entitled to one final paycheck. Employees must receive their paycheck 72 hours after they submit a notice of resignation. This final paycheck must also contain all business expenses and unpaid salaries, such as vacation and sick days.

If an employee is fired and does not receive their paycheck on the last workday, they can request reimbursement. In doing so, they can obtain additional pay from their employers every day that they were forced to wait for their check. The employer can technically wait up to thirty days to send the check late, but they will also be penalized a full day’s pay the longer they neglect to do so. This is why employers should be prepared to give employees their final paycheck on time to prevent unnecessary losses.

What Happens If Employers Pay Final Paychecks Late?

Should an employer fail or neglect to send you your final paycheck in California, you can still hold them accountable by filing a wage and hour claim. California employers must keep up to date regarding employment laws, including current wage and hour laws. Otherwise, employers can face one of the following consequences:

  • The waiting time fine increases to eight times the employee’s hourly wage for every day that the check is late (if they worked 40 hours a week).
  • For part-time employees, the penalty is determined by their daily hours, though the calculations depend on the specific situation.

For instance, if a full-time employee’s hourly rate was $18 per hour, they could earn an additional $144 for every day that the employer fails to give them their final paycheck. It’s also worth knowing that, even if the employee receives their final check, if the full amount of money they’re owed isn’t included, the employer can still be subject to the waiting time penalties.

It’s highly advised that you speak with a lawyer who is well-versed in employment law to help you if you are owed more than you were paid. Employers can also ask for legal assistance, should they have concerns about the case.

When Can an Employer Withhold a Final Check?

California law allows employers to withhold some or all of an employee’s final paycheck under distinct criteria. Employers can withhold pay deductions that are:

  • Allowed by salary agreements that were made to pay for health insurance
  • For insurance costs, medical bills, or other similar expenses, although this must be accepted by an employee in writing
  • Required by state or federal legislation, such as wage garnishments.

The employer is otherwise responsible for paying for losses as a result of owning their company. For example, if a piece of equipment at work breaks down or damages the facility, the employer cannot deduct this amount from the employee’s check. A lawyer can investigate your situation if you believe that your employer is illegally withholding money from you.

FAQs About California Final Paycheck Laws

What Is the 72-Hour Rule in California?

The 72-hour rule states that an employer has 72 hours to give an employee their final paycheck. For example, if someone informs their employer that they are quitting after 72 hours from the notice, the employer must then give them their final paycheck at the end of their workday. Otherwise, employers can be forced to pay the employees an additional amount of money for every day that they don’t submit the check.

What Happens If You Don’t Receive Your Final Paycheck in California?

If an employee does not receive their final paycheck on their final workday, they are subject to reimbursement. This means that they can receive additional compensation for every day that they were forced to wait for their paycheck. This is determined by multiple factors, such as how many hours were worked and for what rates. Employers must pay their employees what they are owed by law to prevent additional penalties.

Can a Final Paycheck Be a Direct Deposit in California?

If you previously authorized direct deposit for your wages, you can receive your final paycheck through this manner as well. However, if your employer typically pays you via check and you did not set up a direct deposit, you must accept your check in person. Some employees find that physically accepting their check is easier and helps confirm that they indeed received it. If there is a discrepancy, contact a lawyer immediately.

Is California a Payout State?

Yes, California is considered a payout state. This means that you can be paid for any unused vacation time, paid time off (PTO), or other similar benefits. The payout must occur at the final rate of pay. The reason you can be paid for this is that California considers vacation time and other similar benefits as a form of wage. If you aren’t paid for PTO or vacation time, consult a lawyer as soon as possible.

Employment Representation That You Can Trust

No matter if you’ve worked most of your life at a grocery store or are transferring to a new office job in your mid-twenties, you deserve to be paid fairly and according to current law. When you give your employer notice that you intend to leave, they must be willing to pay you one final time at the appropriate time. If there is a dispute over this, or if you aren’t paid the full amount, we can help.

Our team at MM Law, APC, has assisted many employees throughout California with their final paycheck cases. Employers can face staggering penalties for not paying employees on their final day. We’re prepared to use our knowledge of wage and hour laws to help you receive your rightful pay.

Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help.

request a free consultation

Fill out the form below to
schedule a free initial consultation.

Schedule a Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.