Skip to main content

Can my employer only pay me a portion of my hours ?

Sacramento, CA |

I just recieved a check yesterday which was missing 24 hours from the time period. I also signed a change of pay rate last month, which has not changed on my check either. I advised the ceo and also my manager and they do not give me an answer as to when they will adjust my pay rate and recompensate me for my hours. They said I will possibly have to wait another 2 weeks for the next pay period. Is this legal? I live in Ca

+ Read More

Attorney answers 5


No your employer can not pay you for only part of your wages.

Please do take this as legal advice however consider these scenarios:

Company A pays an employee for only one half of his hours. The employee can not lose his job at the moment. The employee decides to keep a written record of his employer's failure to pay proper wages. He photographs his time cards with his cell phone. If he uses e-mail at work he sends an e-mail to supervisor at the end of the day summarizing the day's events before he leaves home. The employee keeps a copy of the e-mail which of course time stamps the e-mail. He notes on a calendar each day his work hours.

For three years the employer shorts his hours. Finally the employee is ready leave for a better job. However since the employee kept such good records he has earned a bonus worth thousands of dollars from his former employer.

The employee demands that the employer pay the wages owed to him and more. The employer must not only pay the back wages to the employee, but double the back wages under the liquidated damages clause of the FLSA. The employer must pay the employee 30 days of his wages for failing to pay overtime under Cal. Lab. Code Section 203. The employer must pay 226 penalty of $4000 for failing to accurately note the employee's wages on his time card.

In the second scenario the employee decides that he can risk losing his job from Company A. He writes a letter by certified mail to the human resources department complaining that he is not being paid for all his hours. He keeps a copy for himself. Company A fires him one week later. Now he can sue Company A for wrongful termination and wage and hour law.

Call a lawyer. A lawyer can run these and other scenarios by you to see which one fits your situation best.

I hope this helps. You are between a rock and a hard place and need some good legal advice.


In California, wages, with some exceptions (see table below), must be paid at least twice during each calendar month on the days designated in advance as regular paydays. The employer must establish a regular payday and is required to post a notice that shows the day, time and location of payment. Labor Code Section 207 Wages earned between the 1st and 15th days, inclusive, of any calendar month must be paid no later than the 26th day of the month during which the labor was performed, and wages earned between the 16th and last day of the month must be paid by the 10th day of the following month. Other payroll periods such as weekly, biweekly (every two weeks) or semimonthly (twice per month) when the earning period is something other than between the 1st and 15th, and 16th and last day of the month, must be paid within seven calendar days of the end of the payroll period within which the wages were earned. Labor Code Section 204

Overtime wages must be paid no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period following the payroll period in which the overtime wages were earned. An employer shall be in compliance with Labor Code Section 226(a) relating to total hours worked by the employee if the overtime hours are recorded as a correction on the itemized statement for the next regular pay period and include the dates of the pay period for which the correction is being made. Labor Code Section 204(b)(2)

You might benefit from consulting with an experienced employment law attorney and having them evaluate your case. The California Employment Lawyers Association maintains a list of employment law attorneys who represent employees against employers. Follow the link to:


No, an employer can not only pay you a portion of your hours. I agree with the previous posts by my two colleagues before me on this question. I do not believe it is legal for them to not pay you balance for two weeks. Although, there are some circumstances where correcting errors by the next pay period may reduce penalties. I would get a consultation from a CELA lawyer in your area asap. I'm less than an hour away :-)


While I agree with the potential options to keep track of time and seek damages if you are fired or when you determine to quit at some point in the future, the reality for most wage earners is that they need their pay on time so that they can meet their monthly obligations. An employer can pay you at a later date (i.e., the next pay period) IF you agree that they may do so; otherwise, they do not have the option of withholding part of you pay. If your employer does not correct your pay rate and get you paid immediately, contact an attorney for assistance. A tactful letter or phone call from an attorney will likely resolve this situation for you.


I agree with my colleagues. You are to be paid for all hours worked in a timely fashion.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer