What are payday laws and how do they affect me?

An employee’s right to receive payment in a timely and regular manner is so important in this country that nearly every state has laws in place to guarantee it. Payday laws stipulate the frequency of pay, and the requirement of written notice of these regulations. Every state outside of South Carolina and Alabama mandates the issuance of weekly, bi-weekly, semimonthly, or monthly paychecks to employees.

Paycheck laws in California enforce a worker’s right to receive their paycheck on time, even if it is their last one. Residents of San Diego and throughout Southern California should know their rights and what legal steps they can take if their employer violates wage and overtime laws.

What do California payday laws guarantee?

Labor laws in the Golden State protect workers’ rights to receive pay a least twice a month, with wages for work completed in the first half of the month paid not later than the 26th day, and for work completed in the last half by the 10th of the following month. Employers must pay workers within seven days after the end of a pay period that is weekly, biweekly, or semimonthly, if these paydays do not occur on the 1st, 15th, 16th, or last day of the month.

Employers must notify employees of the time, date and place where they will receive their paycheck, as well as itemize pertinent information in a statement for each pay period, including:

  • Employee name and last four digits of their Social Security Number.
  • Date of pay period.
  • Gross and net pay.
  • Total hours of work, including overtime.
  • Rate of pay and units of work.
  • Total number of hours worked and rate of pay.
  • Deductions.

Employers must also keep payroll records and provide full disclosure within 21 days of an employee’s request to see them. Violations of any of these provisions will incur fines, and repeated violations could result in misdemeanors charges or PAGA claims.

What is California’s final paycheck law?

Employees enjoy payday protections in California not only while they are employed, but also at the time they are fired, laid off, or have quit. When one of these events occurs, the employer must provide the final paycheck at the time of termination.

The employer cannot wait until the next pay period, and the final check must also include all wages, including bonuses or unused accrued vacation. Even if the employee quits with less than 72 hours’ notice, the employer must provide the final paycheck within 72 hours. Noncompliance can result in waiting time fines if they delay payment.