Law Office of Lowell Steiger

Payment of Final Wages

Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: November 4, 2006

FYI, California law requires employers to pay employees who resign with 72 hours advance notice, or who are involuntarily terminated, all wages due immediately upon discharge.  Employees who quit without notice must be paid within 72 hours.

The California Supreme Court in Smith v. Superior Court (2006) 39 Cal. 4th 77, held that an employee who works only for a specific term of employment, such as one day or one week, has been “discharged” within the meaning of the California Labor Code such that “the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately.”  This situation usually arises when employment ends upon the completion of an agreed-upon period of employment or a specific task.

Bottom line: You are entitled to your final wages in, at most, 72 hours.

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