If you’ve recently left a job or plan to, you may wonder about your last paycheck. Employers must give you your final paycheck within days, whether they fire you or you quit. Final paycheck laws in California are clear on this, ensuring you receive your hard-earned money quickly. Let’s dive into these laws and consider when and how you should receive your last paycheck and what it should include. Contact us today to speak with a California unpaid wages attorney!

How Quickly Will I Get My Paycheck?

What are the Final Paycheck Laws in California

Although final paycheck laws vary slightly depending on the industry, generally, California employers must give employees their final paycheck within 72 hours’ of employment termination. Specifically, if your employer lets you go or lays you off, California’s last paycheck laws require that your employer give you your final paycheck on the same day they terminate you. Similarly, if you quit and give at least 72 hours notice, your employer must pay you on your last day. However, if you quit without notice, your employer has 72 hours to provide you with your final paycheck.

How Do I Get My Last Paycheck?

According to the final paycheck laws in California, an employer can give you your last paycheck in two ways. They can hand it to you directly or mail it, but only if you request they do so. If you choose the mail option, the postmark date should be when your employer fired you or you quit.

What Should My Last Paycheck Include?

Your final paycheck should include the following:

  • All wages for hours worked, including any overtime or double-time hours;
  • Accrued unused vacation time;
  • Unused paid time off (PTO);
  • Expense reimbursements; and
  • Commissions and bonuses, unless there are specific conditions or timelines for earning them, in which case your employer may withhold payment if you haven’t met them.

Remember, California’s paycheck laws are meant to ensure you get paid in full promptly. If your employer fails to give you every penny they owe you, a skilled employment attorney at Bibiyan Law Group can help you take action. Reach out today!

What Deductions Can My Employer Take from My Last Paycheck?

California’s final employment paycheck laws allow your employer to take out usual deductions, for example, taxes and any employee contributions to benefit plans. However, employers cannot make unauthorized deductions.

Here’s a breakdown of what employers can legally subtract:

  • Taxes—your employer will withhold state and federal taxes, including income tax, Social Security, and Medicare deductions;
  • Mandatory deductions—if you owe money for child support or other court-ordered payments, your employer must withhold these amounts from your final paycheck; and
  • Voluntary deductions—if you’ve authorized voluntary deductions like health insurance premiums or retirement plan contributions, your employer will deduct these.

Sometimes, if you owe your employer money, they can deduct these amounts from your final paycheck. But they can only make these deductions if you’ve agreed to it in writing. In other words, unless you have a prior written understanding, if your employer takes money out for a loan they gave you, a uniform you didn’t return, or a cash register shortage, that’s illegal.

Are There Penalties for Employers Who Break Final Paycheck Laws?

Employers who drag their feet may face penalties. These can include:

  • Waiting-time penalties. Every day your employer fails to give you your final paycheck, they can be charged a fee, which is your average daily wage for up to 30 days.
  • Penalties for wage theft. If your employer willfully withholds your final paycheck, they may be penalized for wage theft. This could result in additional fines and criminal charges.
  • Accrued interest. If your employer fails to give you your final paycheck on time, you may be entitled to interest on the unpaid wages.
  • Attorney’s fees and costs. If you must take legal action to get your final paycheck, your employer may be responsible for covering your attorney’s fees and court costs. 
  • Civil penalties. In some cases, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office may impose civil penalties on employers who repeatedly violate final paycheck laws.

Your last paycheck helps you make ends meet between your previous job and the next. Luckily, California’s laws recognize this and act as a disincentive for forgetful or unscrupulous bosses.  

Bibiyan Law Group, P.C. California’s Premier Employment Law Advocates

Don’t accept workplace injustice without a fight. If your employer violated California’s final paycheck laws, contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Bibiyan Law Group. We’re here to passionately advocate for your rights. Our blend of thoughtfulness and tenacity has consistently secured over $10 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. With a dedicated team comprising nearly 20 lawyers and 40 support staff, we exclusively focus on employment law and will collaborate with you to devise a customized solution tailored to your needs. Contact us today. At Bibiyan Law Group, your first consultation is always free, and you never pay fees unless we win.

Author Photo

David Bibiyan is a distinguished attorney at Tomorrow Law, renowned for his expertise in employment law. With a strong focus on representing employees in various workplace disputes, he has become a trusted advocate for those facing discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour issues. Bibiyan’s approach is characterized by a deep understanding of both state and federal employment laws, ensuring that his clients receive knowledgeable and effective representation. His commitment to justice is evident in his dedication to each case, where he meticulously works to secure the best possible outcomes for his clients. Bibiyan’s reputation is built on a foundation of successful case resolutions, marked by his skillful negotiation and, when necessary, aggressive litigation strategies. His work at Tomorrow Law reflects a genuine passion for defending workers’ rights and promoting fair employment practices.

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