Moving on from your current job can be the gateway toward a new career, a new job, or perhaps a long awaited retirement. So when you walk out the door from your current workplace, you want your last earnings to quickly follow you. If you find your last paycheck is being delayed, you should know that California law is very clear. Once you leave your job, you are supposed to get your final payment in a very quick and timely manner.
The California Department of Industrial Relations addresses when employers are to pay departing employees their final wages. Sometimes the exact time of payment will change depending on whether the employee gives 72 hours of leaving the job. Hypothetically, if you have no employment contract written up between you and your employer, and you do alert your boss that you want to leave your job in 72 hours, the employer is obligated to give you your final payment when you actually do quit. This includes all vacation time you have accrued.
The scenario is slightly different if you do not provide advance 72 hour notice. If you just decide to terminate your employment, your employer instead has a 72 hour period to give you or to send you your last wages. You also can ask your employer to mail your payment to you. For the purposes of state law, the date your employer mails off your check counts as the day your employer paid you.
Finally, it should be noted that employees that are terminated by their employer are to be paid their remaining wages immediately upon being terminated. Certain exceptions exist for employees that work seasonally in curing or canning perishable food items like fishes, fruits and vegetables, people who work in the motion picture industry under atypical terms of employment that need special computing of due wages, and people who labor in the oil industry. In general, employees who quit or are terminated should receive their final wages very soon upon departing their jobs.
This article is intended to inform readers on final wage payments and is not to be taken as legal advice.