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If you are fired how long does the employer have to pay you?

Barstow, CA |

I was fired last friday but my payn period ended last wednesday and my employer has not yet paid me around $500 inb wages . Is this legal?

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Attorney answers 3


Nope, an employer must pay your final wages at the time of your termination The good news is that there is significant penalties for paying late. I recommend you file a complaint with the labor commissioner. If that doesn't work out then it's time to consult an attorney.

This answer does not create an attorney client relationship. It is not legal advice and is intended for information purposes only. I encourage you to contact an experienced employment attorney who can review the facts related to this matter and then give you specific legal advice based on a review of all of the facts.


No, it is not legal. In California, an employee who is discharged must be paid all of his or her wages, including accrued vacation, immediately at the time of termination. (Labor Code Sections 201 and 227.3.)

Under California Labor Code §203, an employer may be liable for a “waiting time” penalty of up to 30 days of pay for the employer’s willful failure to pay wages due a discharged or quitting employee.

The penalty applies to the willful failure to pay "any wages," which refers to the definition of "wages" in California Labor Code Section 200.

The penalty is measured at the employee’s daily rate of pay and is calculated by multiplying the daily wage by the number of days that the employee was not paid, up to a maximum of 30 days.

For additional information regarding waiting time penalties in California, go to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement's website at:

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.


A terminated employee is entitled to be paid at time of termination. If you are not paid at this time you are entitled to waiting time penalties for up to 30 days.