Does your employer pay you in cash or with a personal check??? Although not illegal, it is likely a violation of California Labor Code section 226 if the employer fails to provide a wage statement semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages.
What is a wage statement? It is an accurate itemized statement in writing that is often a detachable part of a check, draft or voucher or, if the wages are paid in cash or by personal check, it may be a separate writing.
What must this itemized statement show? For hourly non-exempt employees the following information is required:
(1) gross wages earned;
(2) total hours worked by the employee;
(3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis;
(4) all deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item;
(5) net wages earned;
(6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid;
(7) the name of the employee and the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number;
(8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer and, if the employer is a farm labor contractor, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer; and
(9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee.
There are additional requirements if the employer is a temporary services employer. Further, the requirements do not apply if the employee provides personal services, such as childcare, to the owner or occupant of a residential dwelling.
The California Supreme Court recently ruled that wage statements must include “premium pay” owed for missed rest or meal breaks or untimely meal breaks.
Is the employee entitled to recover damages for violations of Labor Code section 226?
An employee is deemed to suffer injury if the employer does not provide a wage statement. If the employer provides a wage statement that lacks some of the required information and the employee cannot promptly and readily determine the information without accessing other documents, the employee is also deemed to suffer injury. The penalties for an employer’s failure to provide a compliant wage or earnings statement is $50 for the first time and $100 for each time thereafter up to a maximum of $4000.
Is it a good idea to review one’s wage statement? Yes. It’s a good way to make sure you are being paid the hourly wage you think you are being paid. It’s also a method to check and see if you are being paid for your overtime hours. Of course, sometimes there are unintentional errors and mistakes that you will want to bring to the attention of the payroll department to be corrected. Sometimes, however, the errors are ongoing and may amount to serious theft of wages. When an employer does not provide itemized wage statements, it is a red flag and may indicate that the employer is violating the law in other ways as well.