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Home » Blog » California Final Paycheck Law 2024 – Workers Know Your Rights

California Final Paycheck Law 2024 – Workers Know Your Rights

Posted on March 28, 2023 | By Omid Nosrati | Employment Law

Compensation for work is essential for financial stability, especially when leaving a job. Sometimes, employers will take their time giving former employees their final paychecks. If they take too long, these employees can be entitled to more money than just what they earned in their last pay cycle. Understanding final paycheck laws, as well as how they affect employees and employers, is necessary for understanding the full scope of workers’ rights.

What Is California’s Final Paycheck Law?

Employees who leave their jobs are entitled to their final paycheck under California employment law. After 72 hours of giving notice of their resignation, employees must receive their final paycheck. Payment for fired employees must be made on the day of termination. According to California’s last payment legislation, the employee’s final check must contain all unpaid salaries and business expenses. The financial amount of the employee’s unpaid benefits must also be included in the final payment, like paid vacation days.

Employees who are fired and do not receive their final payment on their last workday are eligible for reimbursement. They can receive pay from their employers for each additional day that they were forced to wait. The same fines are recoverable from employees who resign but do not get their final salary within three days. For every day the employee must wait, up to a maximum of thirty days, they will be penalized with one full day’s pay. Employers who break the final paycheck law in California risk paying more in waiting-time fines than they did for the final paycheck.

What Penalties Do Employers Face for Paying Final Paychecks Late?

Employees have the right to file a claim for damages related to their final salary. If their employer failed to send them a final paycheck on time, they can file a wage and hour claim. In California, an employer is required to pay a final paycheck on an employee’s last day of work or within 72 hours of that last shift. This final payment shall include all accrued and unused vacation time and any paid time off. The following sanctions may be imposed on an employer if they fail to give former employees their final paycheck:

  • The waiting time fine is eight times the employee’s hourly wage if they work 40 hours per week.
  • As a result, if an employee makes $20 per hour, they are owed $160 for each day that their final paycheck is delayed by the company.
  • If a worker is employed on a part-time schedule, the penalty is based on the employee’s daily hours. It varies depending on the formula used.
  • To be penalized for working overtime, it must be routinely planned.

Even if an employee receives their final paycheck after the deadline, their employer can still be eligible for waiting time penalties if they do not get all their money right away.

Can an Employer Withhold Part of an Employee’s Final Check?

According to California law, employers can legitimately withhold the following amounts from an employee’s pay:

  • Deductions mandated by federal or state legislation, like income taxes or garnishments.
  • Deductions for insurance costs, hospital or medical fees, or other expenses. These must not constitute a rebate or reduction of the employee’s pay. They must also be specifically allowed in writing by the employee.
  • Deductions permitted by salary agreements that are made specifically to pay for a pension or health insurance.

Sometimes, there is a cash deficit, broken or lost company property, or loss of corporate equipment due to human error or accident. The employer is not permitted to lawfully deduct this amount from the employee’s wages. Losses that arise separately from an employee’s work, or that are simply the result of negligence, are unavoidable. The employer is required to endure such losses as part of owning a business.


Q: What is the law about a final paycheck in California?

A: Employees who voluntarily leave a company, or who are fired, are entitled to receive their final payment under California law. Immediately after their employment with the company ends, these checks can be distributed. A final paycheck will be due to an employee within 72 hours if they do not give notice that they are quitting their position. That final paycheck must be paid at the time of their departure if they have given the appropriate notice.

Q: How long does an employer have to pay you after you quit in California?

A: Employers have 72 hours from the end of an employee’s last shift to pay them their last paycheck. If an employer does not pay any leaving employees within a timely manner, the California Labor Code guarantees that they will pay the equivalent of one day’s earnings per late day. This will continue until the check is delivered.

Q: Does an employer have to mail you your final paycheck in California?

A: Employees who resign without giving 72 hours’ notice, and who do not request that their last wages be mailed to a specific address, must collect their final wages at the employer’s office. They must go to the location in the county where the work was completed. This means that if the final shift did not end in a final paycheck, the employee must return to their workplace to collect their final check.

Q: What is the 72-hour rule in California?

A: The 72-hour rule refers to the timeframe that employers have to give their employees a final check after their departure. Beyond this 72-hour window, an employer will be required to pay that employee’s daily wages every subsequent day that the employee goes without their paycheck. This is in addition to their final pay statement. An employee can speak with an employment lawyer to discuss their options for reimbursement.

Finding Legal Help for Pay Discrepancies

Getting legal help for any problems with a final paycheck is necessary for receiving full compensation. At Nosratilaw, A Professional Law Corporation, our team of employment lawyers can help you navigate the process. We can ensure that you receive your final paycheck from your employer. For more information on our services, visit our website and contact us today.

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About the Author
Omid Nosrati

Mr. Nosrati been selected as one of the Top 100 Labor and Employment lawyers in the State of California for 2016, 2017, and 2018 by The American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA). He has a “Superb” (10 out of 10) rating on Avvo and a 4.9 out of 5.0 Peer Rating from other lawyers on Martindale Hubbell. Omid Nosrati is also a member of the respected California Employment Lawyers Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Santa Monica Bar Association. He is a firm believer in education, loves to read about technology trends in the legal field and leverages his firm’s technological strengths to benefit each of his firm’s clients.