Wage Disputes in California

wage disputesWage disputes are avoidable. Employers are required to pay employees their due on time. It just makes sense, and the principle is supported in both state and federal law. Nonetheless, wage disputes are not uncommon in California. If you find yourself fighting for earnings to which you are legally entitled, a local employment attorney may be worth visiting.

Wage Disputes – When is Pay Due?

Every employer has their own systematic pay schedule for salaried, hourly, and commissioned employees. Whatever schedule has been agreed to should be adhered to, including agreements regarding bonuses, vacation pay, and/or benefits.

As a general rule, hourly employees are paid twice monthly, or, in particular situations, once monthly.

Work periods should be paid for on paydays immediately following the work period.  For example, work done from the first to the 15th of a month should be paid for within the following ten days.  If a particular payday happens to fall on a holiday or a Sunday, paychecks should be available on the following business day. Any payments that are later than this could evoke stiff penalties.

Administrative Pay

For administrators, executives, and other professionals who are paid on a monthly basis, paychecks for a given month of work must be available no later than the 26th day of the month.

Agricultural Workers

Agricultural workers must be paid within one week following work. For work performed between the 1st and 15th of the month, payment must be made no later than the 22nd of the month.

Garment Workers

When garment workers (those employees participating in any aspect of garment or accessory production) are not paid earned wages, they may pursue payment from either the employer or the contracting company as per California Labor Code 2673.1.


Similar to garment workers, subcontractors’ employees may be able to receive payment from a general contractor if the subcontractor is unlicensed.

Temporary Agencies

Employees put to work by a temporary service are to be paid on a weekly basis, unless the job assignment is merely day-to-day work. In that case, wages should be paid at the day’s end.

Wage Disputes Over Wages After Being Discharged

Unless an employee resigns while under a contract for a defined time period, an employee who quits without notice is entitled to owed wages within 72 hours. For workers who provide 72 or more hours’ notice, payment may be expected at the close of the final workday.

Penalties for Employer Who do Not Pay on Time

Employers could get stuck with much more than the original wage due if they lose a wage dispute.  

  • They could pay an additional 30 days of wages;
  • They could be responsible for interest on late wages;
  • The court could assign them all attorney’s fees and court costs;
  • The manager or an agent of the company could be fined $1,000;
  • That manager or agent could face six months of imprisonment.

Legal Help for Wage Disputes

If you feel you may need legal help for a wage dispute with a current or former employer, the experienced legal team at Beck Law P.C., may be able to help.  If your wage dispute is in Sonoma County, Mendocino County, or Lake County California, contact our Santa Rosa office for a confidential consultation.


The information on this website should not be considered to be legal advice, nor construed to be the formation of any manner of attorney client relationship. Prior to taking any form of legal action, please consult with an attorney experienced in the appropriate area of law germane to your situation. Case results and testimonials presented on www.californialaborandemploymentlaw.net or any of its related websites are germane to the facts present for each individual case and is not a promise of similar outcomes for any other cases. This website is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of California.