Penalties for Late Paychecks - California Labor Code 210

Posted by Raoul Severo | Dec 06, 2020 | 0 Comments

Perhaps you have tried buying something online and it does not arrive at your doorsteps on the date that it's supposed to arrive. Surely, you know exactly how frustrating and anxious that is. Now, imagine going through the same thing but instead of a product, it's your monthly wage that you use to cover electricity and water bills, rent, and costs for other necessities. All of those negative emotions are almost twice as worse because not only is there a possibility of going into debt, but also a decreased quality of life. 

With that in mind, the state of California enacted Labor Code 210 which aims to penalize employers for releasing wages and payments way past the schedule. Initially, the statute only covered terminated or resigned employees who receive late paychecks. However, Assembly Bill 673 amended the law to include employees who are still working for the company. Furthermore, the state's employment law enumerated the following requirements for all employers:

  • Generally, employees must be paid at least twice a month on designated paydays.
  • All California employers must pay their workers the exact amount of wages they've earned.

What if your employer decides to pay half of the total wage you've earned while keeping the other half for the next payday? That is still legally unacceptable since California law requires all employers to pay employees their full wages on time. Failure to do so may lead to penalties. 

But of course, there are exemptions to this rule such as:

  • When the employee fails to provide crucial information necessary to process and complete his/her payment;
  • When the employer is not at fault for the delayed payment;
  • When there is an error calculating the employees' paychecks and thus will need a re-evaluation; and
  • The protection offered by California Labor Code 210 does not cover exempt employees (e.g., workers with administrative, executive, and professional titles).


For further information, we have created a list of scenarios that are prosecutable under California's late paychecks law:

  • A restaurant chef earns $2,000 bi-monthly and his paydays are the 1st and 15th day of each month. One payday, however, he only received $1,960 which is $40 short of his usual pay. He asks the restaurant manager about this, to which he was told that he shouldn't rush since it's only $40. The restaurant manager then promised to pay the remaining wage next week. 
  • You are working as a taxi driver for a small public transport company. You have been working there for years and you never had any problems with the company or anyone. That is until a complete change of management replaced your old bosses with new, less friendly ones. Since then, your wages have always been either a week late or insufficient. Nobody tried to raise a concern to the administrators since they threatened to fire any employee who tries to file a complaint. 
  • A colleague of yours submitted a resignation letter to your employer's office which is effective 7 days from now. By law, your employer is mandated to pay your colleague on his final day of work since he gave more than 72 hours of notice. However, your boss did not comply with the law and told your co-worker that his final pay will be released next month.

Related Laws

California has a number of different employment laws, such as:

Penalties for Late Paychecks

There are many conditions that the state must look into for them to decide what punishment they should give to the employer. Under California Labor Code 210, however, the penalties are as follows:

  • A fine of $100 for the first violation;
  • $200 for subsequent offenses; and
  • Pay 25% of the total wage that was paid late. 

Keep in mind that we have only covered regular paychecks. Wages such as overtime pay and final paychecks also share the same penalties but not necessarily the same conditions. 

  • An employee is legally required to pay overtime wages no later than the date of your next regular paycheck. Failure to do so will lead to the same penalties stated above.
  • Employees who gave at least 72-hour notice for resignation are entitled to be paid on the day of their last work. If the notice is less than 72 hours, then the payment can be released within the next 72 hours.
  • Employees who were terminated must receive their last paycheck at the time of their termination.

Reach Out to a Lawyer Now

Whether you resigned, got terminated, or are currently working, you deserve to receive your hard-earned wage in full amount with no delays. Here in Raoul Severo's Law Offices, we value your rights to seek damages for a late paycheck. We will help you in every step you take -- be it filing a complaint or a proper lawsuit against the employer. Call us now for a consultation with our professional and skilled attorneys.

Send us a message! We'll get back to you ASAP

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