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Does my employer have to give me the hours that I worked? And how do I fill out the wage claim form?

San Francisco, CA |

I kept track of my hours with my employer, but I didn't keep a copy for myself. I no longer work there, and I want to file a wage claim. Legally can I get the records of the actual hours I worked each week? Isn't an employment record something that they have to give an employee? My employer refuses to give me my hours. They must know they did something wrong. Is there a good reason for not giving an employee this?

What should I put for the wage claim form in the field "hours worked by week"? I don't know exactly how many I worked.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Generally in CA, employers have record keeping requirements and also must provide a copy of certain records to their current and former employees upon request. For example, under CA Labor Code Sections 226 and 1174, employers must keep payroll records, including records of employees' daily hours worked and documents showing all wages paid. Under Labor Code Section 226, you can request a copy of your payroll records from your former employer, and your former employer then has twenty-one (21) days to comply.

    Also, under CA Labor Code Section 432, employees/former employees are also entitled to inspect/receive copies of other types of employment-related documents in the employers possession including documents signed by the employee "relating to the obtaining or holding of employment" with your former employer. And, under CA Labor Code Section 1198.5, employees and former employees are entitled to "inspect" his/her personnel file a reasonable time after requesting. Some common types of documents that fit under these Labor Code provisions are employment applications, employment agreements, tax forms, employee evaluations, daily time sheets, attendance records, authorizations, and handbook acknowledgments.

    Information provided on this website is not legal advice, nor should you act on anything stated in this article without conferring with the Author or other legal counsel regarding your specific situation. No attorney-client relationship is created by this website.

  2. With respect to the wage form, you can give your best estimate of the average number of hours worked per week. You can also write in a range, such as "40-45," or you can write "40+" meaning that you worked at least 40 hours each week. Your best estimate is all that's required, as generally employees are not in possession of their punch detail or weekly timesheets (recordkeeping is the employer's responsibility). Remember too that the initial claim form is just the first step in the process and the DLSE will likely follow up with you to discuss your claims.

    Best of luck to you.

    Disclaimer: This reply does not constitute legal advice or the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, and constitutes only general guidance based on the limited information provided, and may not take into account additional relevant facts and circumstances pertaining to your specific situation.

  3. Yes, you are legally entitled to your employment records, including your time sheets, even after you no longer work there. In California, employers are required to keep employment records for a certain amount of time. In addition, the Labor Code provides a financial penalty if the employer fails to allow access to these records within a certain amount of time. If your former employer is not following the law, they are subject to several penalties under the Labor Code. Please feel free to call me for further advice and consultation.

    DISCLAIMER - NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP: The information provided in this email is intended for informational purposes only. This email does not necessarily reflect current legal or factual developments and is general in nature. Nothing set forth in this email should be construed as providing legal advice regarding an individual situation. Furthermore, the information provided in this email is provided “as is” without any warranty of any kind, either express or implied. Attorney makes no warranty, express or implied, about the correctness, accuracy or reliability of the information set forth in this email. The information provided in this email should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an engagement of legal services with Attorney or establish an attorney-client relationship absent a written agreement for legal services. Thank you.

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