What pay does my employer owe me upon termination?

In California, you are entitled to your entire final paycheck for hours worked. In addition to this final paycheck, you are owed unused vacation pay. If you have unused sick time, your employer is not required to pay you for it. Some employers do pay for unused sick time, however, so it is important to consult with your contract of employment or employee manual.

The way you receive your final paycheck will depend on the notice you have given your employer. In California, if you give a 72-hour notice for your resignation, you must receive the wages upon resigning. If you resign with less notice (or none at all), your employer may mail you your final paycheck.

What if my employer withholds part of my final paycheck?

It is not legal for your employer to withhold your final paycheck upon your resignation. They may receive penalties for withholding your paycheck. Your employer may claim a multitude of reasons for withholding your final paycheck, but there are few instances where this is legal in California.

Some instances where an employer can withhold a portion of your final paycheck include tax withholdings, contributions such as a 401k or a health insurance plan and certain types of wage garnishments. If these categories do not apply to your situation, your employer may be withholding your paycheck illegally.

What are my options if I think my employer kept my wages illegally?

If you believe your employer may be withholding part of your final paycheck illegally, California law offers protection. You can protect your rights with the help of some experienced legal guidance.