Law Office of Lowell Steiger

Are You Getting An Itemized Wage Statement?

Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: March 3, 2012

You have to follow rules at work, right?  Well your boss has to follow rules, too. This post is all about the itemized statement that you are legally entitled to get with your payroll check (or cash payment) and the penalties that your boss may have to pay to you for failure to follow these rules.

California Law Code Section 226 requires your boss (and by “boss” I mean an individual employer or a huge company) to give you an itemized written statement every two months or at the time of each wage payment.  This applies whether you’re being paid by check OR cash!

Here’s A List Of What MUST Be On Your Wage Statement

  1. Gross wages earned
  2. Total hours worked (unless you’re a salaried employee who is exempt from state overtime rules)
  3. Number of piece-rate units earned and the applicable piece rate(s) if you are paid on a piece-rate basis
  4. All deductions
  5. Net wages earned
  6. Dates for which you are being paid (“beginning” and “ending” dates)
  7. Your name and the last for digits of your Social Security number OR your employee ID number
  8. Name and address of the legal entity that is your employer
  9. All applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate

Payments in Cash Are Okay But…

Yes, it is legal for your boss to pay you in cash.  However, your boss still must you with an itemized statement (as described above).

Not only that, your boss must keep the records of those deductions, IN INK (or some other indelible form) for a minimum of three (3) years!  These records have to be dated (month, day, year) and be kept at your boss’s location or some central location within the Great State of California and must be made available to you upon reasonable request (but beware! they can actually charge you the copying costs).

Residential Dwelling Exception

If you’re working for someone in their home performing things like child-care services or personal duties unrelated to your boss’s business, trade, profession or occupation, then they do not have to give you an itemized wage statement.

Government Employees

If you work for the government (state, city, county, city and county, district) your governmental boss can provide you with an itemized statement either in writing or electronically.

Union Employees

Don’t let anyone tell you that just because you’re in a union you’re not entitled to get an itemized wage statement.  Au contraire mon ami.  Union and nonunion employers alike must provide you with an itemized statement.  This rule is NOT waivable even under collective bargaining agreements.

Up To $4,000 In Penalties (plus Attorney’s Fees)

If Your Boss Breaks the Rules

If your boss knowingly and intentionally fails to follow these rules, then he or she or it may be liable to pay a penalty to you (minimum $50 per violation but it could go much, much higher — up to $4,000).  They may also have to pay your costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

In addition to what your boss might owe you, they may also be assessed an additional civil penalty of $250 per employee for the each violation in the first citation and up to $1,000 per employee for each violation in subsequent violations.  Labor Code Section 226.3

If you, or someone you know, have been a victim (or suspect you have been a victim) of Wage & Hour Abuse. Please call or e-mail me immediately at (818) 306-5799 or

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I’m passionate about representing my injured clients. I'm a Personal injury lawyer who treats you with the respect that you deserve.

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