What to Know

Unpaid Wages in California

Unpaid Wages Lawyer. Los Angeles, California.

If you are not paid on time

If your employer doesn't pay you all your wages or doesn't pay you on time, call us at 888-762-0297 to discuss your case.

We help clients in Los Angeles, surrounding counties, and throughout Northern and Southern California to recover unpaid wages.

We do not charge for consultations.

Common wage violations

In California, unpaid wages may include:

If your employer has failed to pay you all your wages, you should speak to an unpaid wage lawyer right away.

Unpaid wages laws in California

Workers in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California have the right to take legal action when an employer does not pay them wages or the benefits they are owed. Call us to discuss how to start the process of collecting unpaid wages or benefits. California's employment laws protect all workers regardless of their immigration status.

Unpaid wages penalties

In California, there is a penalty for not paying workers on time.

Labor Code section 210 creates a penalty for employers who do not pay their workers on time of $100 for an initial violation and $200 for each subsequent violation. Plus, there is an additional penalty of 25% of the amount unlawfully withheld for subsequent or willful, or intentional violations.

Unpaid wages claims: What proof do I need?

Keep text messages and emails or anything written showing you notified your employer about your unpaid or late wages. You can also keep a separate record of days and hours worked, as this may become helpful if your employer still fails to pay you.

Interest on unpaid wages

Interest on unpaid wages is available but varies depending upon whether it’s calculated before or after a verdict is given. For further information call our office at 888-762-0297.

Unpaid wages and a breach of contract

Often, professionals and trade workers get hired on a contract to complete specific tasks or work for a specified period. Some employers breach the agreement they signed.

Under California employment law, if your employer does not pay your wages, that's a breach of contract. Furthermore, in California, you are entitled to payment of your wages on time.

If your employer didn't pay you your earned wages or didn't pay you on time, first contact your employer to correct this. If your employer doesn't resolve the problem, consult an unpaid wages lawyer and discuss your options.

How long does a wage claim take in California?

Depending upon the Labor Commissioner's office location where an employee files their wage claim, the process could take six to nine months or could be much longer.

What to do when your paycheck is short

It will help if you record text messages, email messages, or other writing to show that you reported the underpaid wages. If your employer requires you to report underpaid wages in writing, keep a copy, so they cannot deny they knew about the underpayment. Then contact an unpaid wages lawyer.

Can I sue for an unpaid bonus in California?

Yes. If your employer refuses to pay a bonus you've earned, you can sue your employer to collect it. Because some bonuses require certain events to happen before an employee is entitled to it, the question may shift to whether the bonus has already been earned. If you think you are owed a bonus and your employer refuses to pay, you should contact an unpaid wages lawyer.

How long does an employer have to correct a paycheck error in California?

According to the California Labor Code, your employer must pay all earned wages by the designated payday. However, there are limited cases where overtime wages paid by the next regular payday are considered paid on time. If your employer fails to pay you in full and on time or correct any errors promptly, contact us to discuss what to do next.

Labor Code Sections 201-204 and unpaid wages

California labor code sections 201-204 set out many rules about when wages must be paid. These timelines will vary depending upon – among other things, whether you are paid daily, weekly, bi-weekly, semimonthly, or otherwise, and what kind of work you do. If you suspect you are not being paid on time, you need to speak with an unpaid wages lawyer.

Unpaid wages: What happens if my employer doesn't give me my last paycheck?

California Labor Code sections 201-203 require employers to pay penalties if they fail to timely pay all wages due to that employee upon being fired or resigning. These are known as waiting time penalties. Roughly speaking, the penalty due will be the employee's daily rate of pay for each day the employer fails to pay all wages owed. This penalty can go on for up to 30 calendar days. Employees who are fired must be paid all wages due when fired, and an employee who gives at least 72 hours prior notice of quitting must also be paid on the date they quit. An employee who resigns without prior notice must be paid within 72 hours of the time they quit. If you didn't receive your final paycheck or your paycheck doesn't include wages you're owed, contact us to discuss what to do next.

How does an unpaid wage lawyer get paid?

We take all unpaid wages claims on a contingency basis, which means - there is no fee if there is no recovery. We advance all costs, as well, to be reimbursed upon a successful recovery for you.

For more information

Labor law is complex and constantly changing. If you are not paid on time or suspect that your paycheck is incorrect, if you feel that your employer violated California laws for rest breaks and lunch breaks, call us at 888-762-0297. We routinely handle legal disputes that involve unpaid wages.

We represent clients in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Orange County, and the rest of California.

Consultations are free.

Last updated on November 12, 2021.

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Additional Resources

• Filing an unpaid wages claim and California labor law

• Overtimes and unpaid wages - CA Dept. of Industrial Relations

• Covid-19, unpaid wages and FMLA

• Unpaid Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

• Unpaid Wages and California Private Attorneys General Act