A wage dispute is the process of using legal channels to receive the wages you deserve from an employer whenever you have not been paid on time, or have not received the proper amount of payment for the amount of work that you have done. When you work hard for an employer, you naturally expect to be paid accordingly in a timely fashion. However, sometimes employers can fail to provide the compensation that was agreed upon in your written or verbal employment contract. If this ever occurs, there are certain laws and legal remedies that the state of California provides so that you can receive the compensation that you deserve. In order to successfully bring a wage dispute claim you must first understand the different laws that govern an employer’s duty to pay employee wages.
General Wage Payment Requirements
Under California Labor Code Section 207, wages earned between the 1st and 15th of the month must not be paid any later than the 26th day of the month within which work was performed. All wages earned during the period between the 16th day and the end of the month must be paid by the 10th of the next month. When the earning period does not follow the typical 1st-15th of the month or the 16th to the last day of the month payment schedule, all other payroll periods including biweekly and semimonthly must be paid within a week of the end of that payroll period. Furthermore, overtime wages have to be paid no later than the next regular payroll’s payday that follows the period within which the overtime compensation was earned.
Wage Payment Requirements for Layoffs and Employment Terminations
Immediately at the time of termination, all fired employees must be paid for all of their wages, which includes compensation for any accrued vacation time. Those employees who quit, give 72 hours prior notice, and do not have a written employment contract, must be paid all wages, including accrued vacation hours, within 72 hours after quitting. When an employee quits after providing 72 hour prior notice to the employer, that employee can request that final wages be mailed to a designated mailing address. The date that the final payment is mailed is considered that date within which the 72-hour prior notice requirement must be fulfilled. When an employee did not have a written employment contract that specified a defined time period for employment, and that employee did not give notice before quitting, such employee must be paid all wages at the time that they quit. In Los Angeles, when an employee is laid off or terminated, final payment should be given at the location of termination. When an employee quits without giving proper notice and does not request that final wages be mailed to a specific address, the employee should be able to pick up their final payment from an office in the county where the employee was formerly employed.
Penalties Levied Against Employers for Nonpayment of Wages
When an employer willfully refuses to pay wages to an employee who has been fired, laid off or quits, within the above specified time frames, a waiting time penalty is assessed. This waiting period penalty must be paid by the employer in addition to the already due wages. This waiting time penalty is the daily pay rate that the employee received before employment ended. This waiting time penalty can be imposed for a maximum of 30 calendar days.
However, a waiting time penalty cannot be imposed if an employee has been avoiding or refusing to receive payment of past due wages. Furthermore, the waiting time penalty cannot be imposed when there is a good faith dispute between the employee and employer regarding the amount of wages that the employee is owed. A good faith dispute can arise if the employer presents a legal defense that could successfully preclude any payment recovered by the employee.
Los Angeles, California Employment Attorneys: Exceptional Guidance at Affordable Rates
Are you concerned that your employer has not followed one of the above wage payment legal requirements? The trained and licensed employment law attorneys at HKM Employment Attorneys in Los Angeles can help you today. We are available to review all types of failure to pay wage disputes so that you can receive the compensation that you have earned.