I work as a technical contractor through an agency, for a financial institution. I have been given my two week notice and informed that October 2nd will be my last day. My contract agency indicates that they won't pay me my final check until the next pay

I work as a technical contractor through an agency, for a financial institution. I have been given my two week notice and informed that October 2nd will be my last day. My contract agency indicates that they won't pay me my final check until the next pay period (Oct 9th), and they will be deducting money for my health benefits (which end the day my contract does, Oct 2nd). Is this practice legal, and, if not, what recourse do I have?

This comes on the heels of being told that my contract was being renewed until the end of December, by both my contract agency, and the company I am contracting for.

Additionally, I have accrued "sick time" pay, which they do not count as "vacation or PTO" even though it is, technically, paid time off. I have been informed that I am technically "re-hire eligible", and therefore have no recourse regarding my "sick time" or getting my last paycheck within the 24 hour period mandated by the state of California.

1 answer  |  asked Sep 29, 2015 10:22 AM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Marilynn Mika Spencer
I am not aware of anything that allows a California employer to postpone the pay of an employee who it terminates. California law is quite firm on this. You may be entitled to additional compensation from the employer as a penalty against the employer, as I describe below.

The law requires an employer to pay out accrued vacation and PTO, but not sick leave, at the time of termination. Whether you are eligible for re-hire matters with respect to your employer, but not with respect to this aspect of the law.

Additionally, when you authorized the employer to deduct for medical benefits, I expect the authorization was for medical benefits you will receive. If your medical benefits stop on October 02, then the employer has no right to continue to deduct.

California law requires employers to pay employees according to a pre-determined schedule. FOR EMPLOYEES WHOSE EMPLOYMENT IS ENDING, Labor Code sections 201, 202 and 203 require the following:

1. If the employer ends the employment relationship, the employer must pay everything owed to the employee at the time of termination, including all accumulated wages, overtime, vacation and PTO. (Labor Code section 201)

2. However, for seasonal employees working in curing, canning, or drying perishable fruit, fish or vegetables, the employer has 72 hours to make full payment.

3. If the employee ends the employment relationship without notice, the employer has 72 hours to pay the employees in full, including all accumulated wages, overtime, vacation and PTO. (Labor Code section 202). The final wage payment must be made at the place of termination.

If the employee quits without giving 72 hours notice AND does not request that final wages be mailed to a particular address, then these payment must be made at the office of the employer within the county where the work was performed.

If an employee previously authorized direct deposit, that authorization is immediately terminated when an employee quits or is discharged, and the employer must make the final wage payment as above UNLESS the employee voluntarily authorized the direct deposit AND the employer makes the payment on time, as described above.

If the employer does not pay as required, there is a penalty against the employer and in favor of the employee: the employee’s pay continues as if the employee were still working, every day until the employer pays in full, up to a maximum of 30 days. The employee is entitled to interest at 10 per cent per annum on the unpaid amount. Also, if the employee must go to court to get his or her pay, then the employee is awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of suit. (Labor Code section 203).

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) is a sub-agency within the California Department of Industrial Relations. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/. Some people refer to the DLSE as the Labor Commissioner. The DLSE enforces California's wage and hour laws, including those pertaining to overtime, rest and meal breaks, and more. The link for information on filing a wage claim is here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm.

posted by Marilynn Mika Spencer  |  Oct 13, 2015 11:58 PM [EST]

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