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How do I recover wage statement penalties?

Arcadia, CA |

My employer pays me cash and does not give me a wage statement. I heard there is a penalty. How much is it and how do i get it?

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Attorney answers 2


Yes, there is a penalty for failure to provide a pay stub. California Labor Code section 226 states in part: "226. (a) Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each
payment of wages, furnish each of his or her employees, either as a
detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee's
wages, or separately when wages are paid by personal check or cash,
an accurate itemized statement in writing showing (1) gross wages
earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee, except for any
employee whose compensation is solely based on a salary and who is
exempt from payment of overtime under subdivision (a) of Section 515
or any applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, (3) the
number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if
the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis, (4) all deductions,
provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee
may be aggregated and shown as one item, (5) net wages earned, (6)
the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid, (7)
the name of the employee and only the last four digits of his or her
social security number or an employee identification number other
than a social security number, (8) the name and address of the legal
entity that is the employer and, if the employer is a farm labor
contractor, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682, the name
and address of the legal entity that secured the services of the
employer, and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the
pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each
hourly rate by the employee and, beginning July 1, 2013, if the
employer is a temporary services employer as defined in Section
201.3, the rate of pay and the total hours worked for each temporary
services assignment. The deductions made from payment of wages shall
be recorded in ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing
the month, day, and year, and a copy of the statement and the record
of the deductions shall be kept on file by the employer for at least
three years at the place of employment or at a central location
within the State of California. For purposes of this subdivision,
"copy" includes a duplicate of the itemized statement provided to an
employee or a computer-generated record that accurately shows all of
the information required by this subdivision."

The amount of the penalty is discussed in the statute: It ranges between %40 and $4,000, and you can get reimbursed for attorney's fees.

It sounds like you are still working, so there are additional considerations. The employer may retaliate against you for pursuing your legal rights. Even though the law provides a remedy if you are fired or disciplined, that only helps you after the fact and will not prevent you from losing your job in this rotten economy. For this reason, you should consult with one or more experienced employment law attorneys with whom you can discuss the details of your situation and decide on a strategy and if it makes sense to wait to pursue your claim.

To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best. *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


Correct, your employer is in violation of Labor Code section 226. Contact a local employment attorney for a case review.

Matthew Blair

Contact me for a FREE case consultation 310-550-1555, email: I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Answers must not be relied upon. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference.

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