What Can I Do If My Employer Pays My Late or Unpaid Wage?

Brad Nakase, Attorney

Email Brad

Personal Injury Lawyer | Accident Lawyer

Late and Unpaid Wages

In order to financially survive in the world, one must get a job and be paid for that service. Thankfully, these wages (cost of completing service, task, or specific job) are ensured by law.

Wages is defined as payment in exchange for labor.[i] Labor is defined to include, “labor, work, or service whether rendered or performed under contract … or other agreement if the labor to be paid for is performed personally by the person demanding payment.”[ii] Basically, labor includes any work performed for the benefit of an employer. However, sometimes the issue arises as to when payments must be made and what happens if payments are late. This article discusses both those issues and explains remedies available.

When is payment due?

Most payments are paid bi-monthly, or twice a month.[iii] Specifically, employers usually pay their employees the 1st and 15th of the month.[iv] However, some employees, specifically those salaried and covered under the Fair Labors Standards Act, may be paid once per month.[v] This occurs with some teachers; they are paid at the first of the month for the entire month. Overtime, time worked over expected shifts, must be paid no later than the next payday in order to be determined as on time.[vi]

When do I get paid if I was fired?

Issues and fears usually arise when being fired or let go from a specific position. People wonder how and when will they be paid for the time worked before this termination. California sets out guidelines in order to protect both the employee and employer. If an employee is fired or terminated, payment for work done that has yet to be paid for is due immediately. For example, if you worked three shifts at a restaurant and haven’t been paid since the first of the month, you are due that three shift payment the moment of termination.[vii] However, if you are laid off, the time period is not immediate but rather in a reasonable time as long as that period does not exceed 72 hours.[viii]

What happens if my employer violates the above laws?

If an employer does not follow the above rules, he or she will suffer a penalty or a fine.[ix] For each day the employee is not paid, he or she will accrue her daily wages until payment is made.[x] However, this accrual cannot exceed 30 days.[xi]

I think I have a case. What now?

If you believe you have been wronged and have not been paid in a timely manner, reaching out to the employer would be a great first step. Handing the problem internally would allow both parties to understand each other and end the issue quickly. However, if this is not an option or it has already been taken and failed, a suit may be filed against the employer.[xii] A court may deem compensatory damages as well as punitive especially if the employer has been fined previously or willfully withheld the overdue wages for an unlawful reason. However, due to statute of limitations, or deadline for filing a case, it is important and dire to ensure you have taken and spoken with a lawyer as soon as you see an issue.

Call or Write for a Free Confidential Consultation

If you or someone you love need an aggressive and compassionate attorney who will listen and aggressively protect your interest, we invite you to call attorney Brad for a free consultation.

I’d like to hear your story. What happened?

$0 Upfront

There is no money upfront to hire me.

$0 Unless We Win

No Fee – Unless We Win

$13,000,000.00+ Won for Clients

I’ve won $13 million dollars for my clients.

98% Success Rate

I’ve won 98% of my clients’ cases.

Insurance Insider

I’ve worked at a major national law firm serving big name insurance companies by defending insurance companies and their insureds who were sued for millions of dollars.

I Care

My success is measured in the real differences made to my clients’ quality of life. I focus on achieving the most exceptional and fairest compensation for my clients.


Car Accident Lawyer

I have served hundreds of injured persons. Also, I have worked at a national law firm hired by big-name insurance companies to defend big businesses against high stakes lawsuits stemming from car accidents. I know all the tricks the insurance companies use to minimize money payment to injured persons.  Learn More

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

I own and ride a Honda CBR500. I understand the unique challenges of being a rider in an ocean of cars. A motorcycle accident can occur anywhere and at an instant which may result in life-changing injuries. As a rider, I have a unique insight to protect your interest and ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.

Trucking Accident Lawyer and Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer

I’ve helped major insurance companies defending truckers in severe injury cases which include traumatic brain injuries. I have a unique insight into how big insurance companies defend trucking accidents. I will fight hard to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.

Uber Accidents Lawyer

I have worked at a major national law firm hired by the insurance company to defend Uber drivers. I’ve defended Uber drivers in severe injuries cases and know how insurance companies defend injury cases.

Taxi Accident Lawyer

I have worked at a major national law firm hired by the insurance company to defend taxi drivers; I’ve defended taxi drivers sued in serious injuries cases and know how insurance companies defend injury cases.

Trip and Fall Injury Lawyer

Trip and fall cases are challenging because of the complexity of the issues involved. To establish liability, trip and fall cases may require safety engineers, structural engineers, or any other experts qualified to testify regarding the standard of care in the specific situation and whether it was breached.

Legal Reference

[i] Cal Labor Code § 200

[ii] Labor Code § 200

[iii] Cal Labor Code § 204(a)

[iv] Cal Labor Code § 204(a)

[v] Title 29 § 13(a)(1)

[vi] Cal Labor Code § 204(b)

[vii] Cal Labor Code § 201(a)

[viii] Cal Labor Code § 201(a)

[ix] Cal Labor Code § 203(a)

[x] Cal Labor Code § 203(a)

[xi] Cal Labor Code § 203(a)

[xii] Cal Labor Code § 203(b)

© Copyright | Nakase Law Firm (2019)