When does an employer have to pay their employees?

Frank S. Clowney III

An employee devotes their time and labor for the benefit of their employer. In return, the employee rightfully expects to be paid for their efforts, on time and in the correct amounts. It can be helpful to know when an employer is required to make those payments, in case issues arise during your employment.

Regular pay

In California, with some exceptions, wages must be paid twice per month on regular paydays. The employer must decide those paydays in advance and is required to post a notice giving the time, date and location of the paydays.

For work performed between the 1st and 15th of the month, the employer must pay those wages no later than the 26th of the same month. For work performed between the 16th and the last day of the month, wages must be paid by the 10th of the following month.

Employers can, however, choose different pay schedules and still comply with the law. Weekly or biweekly pay schedules are perfectly fine. Additionally, the employer can choose a twice-monthly schedule using different dates than those dates above. But if they do, the wages must be paid within seven calendar days of the chosen pay period.

Overtime pay

Employers are not required to pay overtime wages in the same pay period the hours were worked. Instead, the law requires them to make good on overtime wages by the pay period following the period in which the wages were worked.

Final pay

If an employee gives at least 72 hours notice, the employer is required to pay all outstanding wages, including accrued vacation, on their final day of work.