Your employer is supposed to pay wages within a stipulated time, but if you get terminated, or you decide to quit, your employer should pay all your wages immediately. However, this depends on several factors. Getting your final paycheck is not that easy.You may have accrued leave days, and your employer may be reluctant to pay. But what if you don’t get paid within your two-week notice? What are you supposed to do? In such circumstances, you may consider hiring an employment attorney to assist you in obtaining what you deserve.
Waiting Time Penalty For Final Wages
The law requires that you receive your last paycheck within a reasonable time after quitting or being fired. In most states, this should be done within 30 days. According to California’s final paycheck law, an employee is entitled to receive his/her final paycheck immediately after being fired. However, this may be different if the employee decides to quit without giving prior notice.
If an employee quits, he/she should receive the final paycheck within 72 hours. Again, the employer is supposed to provide the final check immediately if the employee gave notice of quitting of more than 72 hours. You should receive any outstanding balance, commissions, vacation pays, or any other payment that may be due as at the time you quitted or got fired. If you don’t receive everything you’re entitled to, you have the right to seek legal action. Your employer could face potential penalties. However, there are certain exceptions to this. Meaning, different rules apply to employees who work in specific industries. The below employees may not receive their final paycheck immediately. Some of these workers include:
- Workers in the motion picture industry: This worker gets his/her final paycheck if terminated by the next regular payday
- Oil drilling workers: The time for issuing a final paycheck to such shouldn’t exceed 24 hours, excluding weekends or holidays
- Live event venue employees: Both the employer and employee should have a collective bargaining agreement and express the time limit for final paycheck
- Some employees who work in perishable food production companies: They should be paid within a reasonable time that don’t exceed 72 hours after discharge or termination
Which Penalties Can I Collect In My Wage Claim
California law requires that employers pay employees their final check on time, and with the exact amount owed. If your employer willfully fails to issue the final paycheck on time, you may be entitled to extra pay. This is referred to as the waiting time penalty. However, the latter only applies to those employees who receive “wages.” Your final paycheck may have:
- Unpaid Overtime pay: This is if your overtime was scheduled. You may notreceive these wages if you had infrequent overtime. For instance, if you worked overtime for one hour, this may not be included in your waiting penalties. California has a standard time for paying overtime. If your employer failed to follow the right guidelines when paying your overtime, you would be entitled to one and a half times of what you get in your hourly rate. This should be multiplied by every hour of overtime that was not paid.
- Back pay: This is the lost wages; it includes the money you should have been paid for the work performed. Your employer is supposed to award you back the total unpaid hours multiplied by your hourly wage. For instance, if your hourly wage is $10 an hour and you’re off the clock hours amounted to 40, you should receive$400 as lost wages.
- Unused vacation: Your employer may be required to pay you unused vacation regardless of whether you were terminated or you quit your job.
In addition to recovering from the above, you may also receive interested in your unpaid wages or recover the attorney fees. There are many penalties that one may recover from; your employment law attorney in California should be in a position to explain any question you may have.
How Will The Labor Lawyer Help
If your employer has failed to give your final paycheck within the mandated time, you should seek help from an experienced labor lawyer. The below are some of the benefits you may have:
- You will get advice as to whether you can recover your unpaid wages via other methods such as filing a claim. He/she can advise on the options available that will not limit the damages that you’re entitled to.
- Your lawyer can help you figure out if your employer’s conduct violated the law.
- Help you make an informed decision after comparing the many options.
- Give you the assessment as to whether your case may prevail and the estimates of the costs that may be involved, such as filing fees.
- Your lawyer should give you his/her estimated costs and whether you will get services on a contingency basis or whether they will offer services on an hourly fee basis.
Taking into account that your employer will also have legal representation, you should also have one to ensure you get the waiting penalties available.