California Employee Pay Stub & Wage Statement Laws 2020
Under California law, every employer must furnish an accurate itemized wage statement when paying wages. California Labor Code § 226(a). Employers must adhere to several strict requirements pertaining to itemized wage statements furnished to California employees. California employees who do not receive pay stubs complying with California law have a wage claim against their employer, entitling them to monetary damages. California employees with wage claims may bring their claim at the DLSE or in court. Benefits and pitfalls exist to both, and every California employee’s wage claim demands an individual analysis.
If you are a California employee who has not been furnished with itemized wage statements, contact Astanehe Law today to discuss your options with an experienced California employment attorney.
Mandatory Items on California Employee Pay Stubs & Wage Statements
1. Payment Period
Pay stubs and wage statements must include the dates of the beginning and the end of the pay period. Labor Code § 226(e)(2)(B).
2. Gross Wages
California pay stubs and wage statements must include the gross (total) wages earned by the employee. Soto v. Motel 6 Operating, L.P., 4 Cal. App. 5th 385, 391 (2016). This amount is before the employer makes any deductions.
3. Itemized Deductions
The pay stub and itemized wage statement must include a separate listing of all deductions made from the gross wages.
4. Net Wages
The pay stub and itemized wage statement must state net wages earned. Soto v. Motel 6 Operating, L.P., 4 Cal. App. 5th 385, 391 (2016). Net Wages, also known as take-home pay, are gross-pay after subtracting deductions.
5. Total Hours
California pay stubs and wage statements must state the employee’s total hours worked for the pay period. Morgan v. United Retail, Inc., 186 Cal. App. 4th 1136, 1142 (2010). Salaried, or exempt, employees are exempt from this requirement. Further, certain employees exempt minimum wage and overtime pay are exempt from this requirement.
6. Applicable Hourly Rates
California pay stubs and wage statements must include all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee. Labor Code § 226(e)(2)(B). For temp employees, the statement must include the rate of pay and total hours worked for each temporary service assignment.
7. Employer’s Name & Address
The employer’s legal name and address must be stated on the wage statement or page stub. If the employer is a farm labor contractor, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the employer must be stated.
8. Employees’ Name & Employee Number or SSN
California pay stubs and wage statements must include the employee’s full name and the last four digits of the employee’s social security number or an employee identification number.
9. Accrued Paid Sick Leave
The employer must provide written notice, either on the wage statement or separate writing given to the employee on payday, setting forth the amount of paid sick leave available, or amount of paid time off leave. Employers providing unlimited paid sick leave or unlimited paid time off may satisfy this requirement by indicating “unlimited” on the wage statement or employee notice. Labor Code § 246.
Piece-Rate Employees Have Additional Mandatory Items on California Pay Stubs & Wage Statements
For employees compensated on a piece-rate basis – the worker is paid per unit produced – California pay stubs & wage statements must include the total number of piece-rate units earned and the applicable piece-rate.
The piece-rate pay stub and wage statement must include the total hours of compensable rest and recovery breaks, the employees compensation rate, and the gross wages paid for those periods during the pay period.
For employers paying less than minimum wage for nonproductive time, the wage statement must state the total hours of other nonproductive time, the rate of compensation, and the gross wages paid for that time during the pay period. Employers who pay an hourly rate of at least the applicable minimum wage for all hours work, in addition to paying piece-rate compensation, are relieved of the wage statement requirement to list the total hours of other nonproductive time, the compensation rate, and the gross wages for other nonproductive time.
Penalties for California Pay Stub & Wage Statement Violations
An employee suffering an injury due to an employer’s knowing and intentional failure to comply with California pay stub and wage statement law is entitled to the greater of:
- Actual damages; or,
- $50 for the initial pay period in which a pay stub violation occurs; and, $100 for each additional pay period, with a $4,000 cap. Labor Code § 226(e)(1).
Attorney fees are awarded to a prevailing employee.
The California Labor Code also provides for an additional civil penalty for certain violations. Labor Code § 226.3. Labor Code section 226.3 provides that an employer who violates Labor Code section 226(a) can face a civil penalty of $250 per employee for each violation in an initial citation and $1,000 per employee for each violation in a subsequent violation where the employer fails to provide the employee with a “wage deduction statement” or does not maintain records, as required by Labor Code section 226(a). Labor Code § 226.3. This penalty may only be imposed by the Labor Commissioner by citation after notice and a hearing opportunity. Labor Code §§ 226.4, 226.5.
Employees Exempt from California Pay Stub & Wage Statement Law
The aforementioned Labor Code § 226 pay stub & wage statement requirements do not apply to two employee groups:
- Live-in nannies, au pairs, housekeepers, and other similar employees; and,
- State, city, county, district, or other government entity employees. Labor Code §§ 226(d), (h).
DLSE Hearing or Court
California employees with wage statement & pay stub claims have the option of filing their action a the DLSE or in court. The DLSE is faster, free, and informal. It is designed for employees not represented by an attorney with small claims. In certain circumstances, this may be the right forum. However, California employees are not permitted to conduct discovery here, which means they may be unable to obtain the evidence they need for certain claims. Further, attorney fees are not recoverable at the DLSE and California employees have a shorter statute of limitations.
Contact Astanehe law to discuss which forum is right for your California pay stub & wage statement violation claim.
Astanehe Law Knows Employee Rights
If your employer has not furnished you with accurate and lawful paystubs complying with California law, contact Astanehe Law. Our California Employment Law attorneys can perform a review of your paystubs and wage statements, discuss your options, and answer your questions. You may have additional claims. For your consultation, contact Astanehe Law to discuss your options with an experienced California employment law attorney.
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