California’s Clarification on Employee Access to their Payroll Records
must provide employees with accurate, itemized written wage statements semi-(twice)-monthly or at the time or each payment of wages. Those statements must contain exact, detailed pay-related information, such as the employee's identity, hours worked, and gross and net wages earned. Labor Code 226(a). See, Ignore at Your Own Peril (February, 2018).
Existing law also permits
current or former employees to "inspect or copy" such payroll records within 21 calendar days of the request. An employer's failure to comply by the deadline may entitle the worker or the Labor Commissioner to recover a $750 penalty plus reasonable attorney's fees (Labor Code 226(f) and (h)).
Effective January 1, 2019,
amended Labor Code 226 clarifies a current or former employee's right to "copy" his or her wage-related documents (e.g. pay stubs) means the right to actually receive a copy generated by the employer.
According to the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation,
the advocacy group which spearheaded this change, some employers interpreted "copy" to require a requesting employee to bring a copying device to the workplace to make the copies at his/her expense. The amendment confirms otherwise.
The employer may,
however, charge the current or former employee for the actual cost of reproduction (Labor Code 226(b)).
For further assistance,
please contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.
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