If you quit your job, were fired, or laid off, your employer has a specific period of time under California Law to give you your final paycheck for all wages owed to you, including overtime, and accrued vacation and paid time off. Hagin v. Pac. Gas & Elec., 152 Cal.App.2d 93 (1957). “An ’employer’ that ‘willfully fails to pay’ in accordance with sections 201 and 202 ‘any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits’ is subject to so-called waiting-time penalties.” McLean v. State of California, 1 Cal.5th 615, 619 (2016); Davis v. Morris, 37 Cal.App.2d 269 (1940) (holding that Labor Code § 203 only requires that the employer’s action was within the employer’s control).
If you are terminated, your final wages, all overtime, and all accrued vacation time must be paid to you at the time of termination.
However, if you quit, and you give at least 72 hours’ notice to your employer before quitting, your employer must provide your last payments to you on your last day of work. However, even if you quit without providing notice, your employer must provide your final paycheck to you within 72 hours.
If your employer fails to timely provide you with your final wages, they also owe you a penalty, equivalent to one day’s regular wages for each day the payment is late, including weekends and holidays, up to 30 days, in addition to any money already owed to you. California Labor Code Section 203.
Thus, if you quit, or get laid off or terminated, it is very important to keep track of any amounts owed to you and when the amount is finally paid so that you can recover all applicable penalties for late payment (which can be a lot!).