California Law on When Employees Must Be Paid

California Labor Code § 204 requires most employees to be paid at least two times a month on dates that are designated in advance by the employer as paydays. The payday for work performed between the 1st and the 15th of the month must be set between the 16th and the 26th of the month. The payday for work performed between the 16th and the last day of the month must be set between the 1st and the 10th of following month. Employees who are paid every week must be paid no more than seven days after the end of each pay period.

For employees classified as “exempt,” such as executive, administrative and professional employees, these employees must be paid at least once per month.

However, overtime wages do not need to be paid until the pay period following the period during which the overtime wages were earned.

Employers that violate these provisions are guilty of a misdemeanor and are subject to fines that start at $100.00 per employee and vary with the number of times the employer commits the violation. Fines for intentional violations start at $200.00.

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