What Can I Do If My Final Paycheck Is Delayed?

You should never have to wait more than 72 hours to receive your final paycheck from an employer in California. Whether you quit your job or your boss laid you off, you should receive your final paycheck within 72 hours at the latest. In job termination situations, your employer has a legal obligation to give you your final paycheck immediately. If you believe an employer has broken the law by unfairly delaying or denying your final paycheck, speak to a Los Angeles employment attorney.

How Long Should it Take for a Final Paycheck in CA?

It should take no delay at all to receive your final paycheck in California if your employer terminates your employment. Employers in California must lawfully release final paychecks immediately upon terminating a worker’s employment, according to Labor Code sections 201 and 227.3. The final paycheck must include all of your unpaid wages as well as accrued vacation time or paid time off. The only exception is if the employer laid off a group of employees due to seasonal employment in the curing, canning or drying of fruit, vegetables or fish. In these cases, employers have a maximum of 72 hours after the layoff to release final paychecks.

If you quit your job, you should still receive your final paycheck within 72 hours. If you did not give your employer at least 72 hours’ notice, your employer will have 72 hours from the time you notified him or her of your intention to quit to give you your final paycheck. If you did quit with at least 72 hours’ notice, your employer will owe you a final paycheck on your final day of employment. These rules apply to employees with and without employment contracts. You will have the right to request a final paycheck by mail if you quit without giving 72 hours’ notice.

Are Final Check Delays Unlawful?

Yes, it is against the law for an employer to delay your final paycheck. A delay could mean just one day if the employer lawfully should have given you a final paycheck immediately, or longer than 72 hours if the employer had this long to deliver the final check. To discourage employers from delaying final paychecks, California law imposes a waiting time penalty per day of the delay. If your employer unfairly delays your final check, you will be eligible for unpaid wages and accrued paid time off as well as a waiting time penalty of your daily rate of pay for each day your employer failed to give you a final paycheck, up to 30 calendar days.

What If My Final Check Has Been Withheld?

You have a right to receive a paycheck for any and all unpaid wages after leaving a job. If your employer tries to infringe upon this right, bring an unpaid wage claim against the company with help from an attorney. Ask your employer about your final paycheck the day he or she terminates your employment or your final day at work if you quit your job. If the employer tries to withhold your paycheck—regardless of the reason the company gives you—fight back.

  1. Gather information about your employment, including paystubs and employment contracts.
  2. Calculate how much your final paycheck should contain.
  3. Keep any communication to and from your employer about the withheld paycheck.
  4. Contact an employment attorney for assistance with your wage claim.
  5. Bring a claim against your employer for unlawfully withholding your final check.

A lawsuit against your employer for breaking California’s wage laws or retaliating against you could result in back pay, lost wage compensation, penalty payments and more. It could also force your employer to treat its employees fairly, potentially preventing an employee from ending up in a similar situation in the future. An attorney can help you with your wage claim after leaving a job in California. Most employment lawyers take unpaid wage claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will only pay out of an award won, not out of pocket.