California Labor Code Section 203: “Waiting Time Penalties

With the present economic conditions, many hardworking California employees may find themselves at risk of losing their jobs. The good news, however, is that the law entitles employees to receive compensation due them immediately upon their termination or resignation.

What’s The Law On Receiving Penalties?
The California Labor Code specifies that terminated employees are entitled to receive prompt payment for all hours worked, provided that the employee completed or rendered the services for which he or she was hired. Under Section 201 of the state Labor Code, employers are mandated to pay all earned and unpaid wages of an employee immediately upon discharge from duty. In case of resignation, Section 202 of the state Labor Code mandates that payment of wages and other benefits be made within 72 hours.
Failure to pay within the given time frame may subject the employer to waiting time penalties. This rule is clearly enunciated in the California Labor Code Section 203, which ensures that employees receive compensation due them upon discharge from work. The labor law states that the employer’s inability to issue wages may result in the accrual of waiting time penalties. Specifically, the employer will be charged an amount equal to the employee’s regular rate of pay for every single day the dues go unsettled.
Although California Labor Code Section 203 provides a clear-cut rule, there are several considerations that can make the employee’s claim quite complicated. First of all, employers may not be forced to pay waiting time penalties if they can prove that the employee refused to accept payment of wages despite their effort. In certain cases where an employee quits job secretly without providing contact details, the employers are not required to pay wages or penalties thereon.
On the other hand, the California Labor Code Section 203 clarifies that delay in payment arising from the existence of a “good faith dispute” should not be subject to waiting time penalties. A “good faith dispute” occurs when an employer contests the employee’s claims in court or with the Labor Commissioner. Usually, a California Wage Law Attorney can help you determine whether the dispute is valid or not.
Despite existence of a “good faith dispute,” employees are still entitled to receive prompt payment of the undisputed portions of wages. If the employer fails to issue payment for the undisputed wages, the employer will have to be subject to waiting time penalties.
Remember that statute of limitations apply in filing a claim to collect unpaid wages and waiting time penalties. If your employer does not issue payment of your final wages within the prescribed time, you should immediately seek legal help from a qualified California Wage Law Attorney.

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