Unpaid Wages in California And The Law



Almost all employees in California must receive the minimum wage as required by state law, whether they are paid by piece rate, by commission, by the hour, or by salary.


The minimum wage is an obligation of the employer and cannot be waived by any agreement, including collective bargaining agreements. An employer may not use an employee’s tips as a credit toward its obligation to pay the minimum wage.





California law requires that employees be paid overtime, at one and a half times their regular rate of pay, not only for work in excess of 40 hours in one work week but also for work in excess of eight hours in any given workday.


Employees are also entitled to overtime at one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay, for the first eight hours on the seventh day of work in any one workweek. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one workday or eight hours on the seventh workday in any one workweek must be compensated at twice the employee’s regular rate of pay.


However, overtime laws do not apply to all workers and certain workers, such as domestic workers and farmworkers, are covered by different overtime laws.




In California, employers are not required to provide any paid vacation or paid time off to their employees. However, employers who choose to offer vacations must follow certain guidelines.


California law considers an accrued vacation to be a form of wages that have already been earned by the employee. Among other things, this means that accrued vacation cannot expire and must be paid out to an employee upon termination or separation from the employer. The same rules apply to paid time off.


Sick time is not subject to the same rules as a vacation. As of July 2015, California employers are required to provide a minimum number of paid sick days per year.




If your employer fires you, you must receive your final paycheck on your last day. If you are not paid when your job ends, you may be entitled to receive an additional payment of a day’s wages for each day your employer withholds your final paycheck, for up to 30 days.

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