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What About Unpaid Wages in California?

Find A California Employment Attorney for Unpaid Wages

Other than their employment contracts, employee pay and benefits are also protected by California Labor Law. If your employer refuses or fails to pay you for wage, salary, or benefits you're entitled to, you might have a case. Consult an Employment Attorney in California to figure out your legal options.

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What Qualifies As Unpaid Wage in California?

Unpaid wage refers to compensation—either promised in the contract or identified in protective wage laws—that your employer still owes you. Whether they're deliberately choosing not to pay or they simply forgot or failed to do so, you still have grounds for unpaid wages.

How Do I Know I Have Grounds for Unpaid Wage Claims?

To identify unpaid wages, you must first know how pay, hours, and benefits work. Below are the most common unpaid compensations:

  • Minimum Wage. Almost all employees in California are obliged by law to be paid the minimum wage, regardless of whether they are paid by piece rate, commission, hourly rate, or salary.

    • Any contract, including collective bargaining agreements, cannot waive the employer's need to pay the minimum wage. An employer may not deduct an employee's tips from their minimum wage requirement.

  • Overtime. Employees must be paid for overtime, at one and a half times their regular pay rate, not just for labor over 40 hours in a week, but also for work over eight hours on any particular workday, according to California law.

    • Employees are also entitled to one-and-a-half times their ordinary pay rate for the first eight hours of work on the seventh day of each workweek. Work that lasts more than 12 hours in one day or eight hours on the seventh day of a workweek must be reimbursed twice the employee's ordinary pay rate.

    • Overtime regulations, however, do not apply to all employees, and some employees, such as domestic workers and farmworkers, are subject to specific overtime laws (per state).

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  • Paid Vacation. Employers are not required to provide paid vacation or time off to their employees in California. Employers who wish to offer holidays, however, must adhere to specific standards.

    • An accrued vacation is considered under California law to be a kind of pay that the employee has already earned. This means, among other things, that unused vacation time cannot be carried forward and must be paid out to an employee upon termination or separation from the company. Paid time off is subject to the same rules.

    • The same set of laws does not govern sick time as vacation time. Employers in California must provide a certain number of paid sick days per year as of July 2015.

  • Last Paycheck After Termination. If your employer fires you, you must be paid on the last day of your employment. If you are not paid after leaving your job, you may be entitled to an additional payment of a day's salary for each day your boss withholds your last check, up to 30 days.

You have the right to sue your employer if it is decided that they have broken wage and hour laws in California. There are still other options, such as filing a claim with the state labor department for unpaid pay against your company.

In some instances, the labor department will hold a hearing to hear the case and decide. This path isn't always the greatest option for you, and this is because you won't be able to file a lawsuit if you submit a claim with the labor department.

Due to this restriction, you may not be able to recover the total amount of unpaid wages you are entitled to. Talk to your California Labor Law Attorney about this choice and make sure you're on the best possible path to a fair outcome.

Do Tips Count Towards Minimum Wage?

All workers protected by federal and state Labor Laws are usually entitled to the minimum wage. This wage is either the federal government's minimum wage or the state's minimum wage, whichever is higher.

Employers in California are not allowed to lower wages depending on tips obtained. They demand that an employer provide a minimum salary regardless of tips received. The Department of Labor provides a list of the various states' tip and wage standards. If you believe you are being underpaid in your employment because of tips, see an Employment Attorney in California.

Why Are My Paychecks (and Paystubs) Important?

If you do not receive your paycheck on the scheduled payday, keep track of the hours you worked from when you were supposed to be paid. You must also record any expenses incurred as a result of not getting your check on time.

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Many states have regulations requiring employers to pay employees for the hours they work within a specific time window. These intervals can be bi-weekly, bi-monthly, or any other regular time frame. Employers who fail to comply with the law may be subject to fines and possibly criminal prosecution.

If you are not being paid reasonable pay for the hours you have worked, you should speak with an employment attorney. An attorney will be familiar with the legislation in your state and will fight for you to collect your just compensation. A California Labor Law Attorney can assess if you are entitled to compensation for any unjust or illegal activities by your employer.

Is My Boss Required To Give Bonuses?

Unfortunately, your employer is not required by the Fair Standards Act to give bonuses. You will not be able to seek compensation for these payments through federal government agencies. However, this doesn't mean you're not entitled.

You have a contractual right to these funds when they are due. Contact an employment attorney familiar with these rights and assist you in receiving the promised bonus pay.

Contact an Employment Attorney in California who is familiar with these rights and can assist you in receiving the promised bonus payments. Writing to your employer about the missing bonus is a good place to start.

Find A Wage Claim Attorney in California can help you find a Contingency Lawyer for your Employment Cases in California. No win, no fees! You can complete our submission form for a free case review.


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