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Can an employer withhold your pay?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Wage And Hour Violations

California has some of the most robust labor laws in the country, designed to protect employees’ rights and ensure fair treatment.

One common concern among employees is whether an employer can withhold their pay if a customer fails to pay their bill. This issue can create significant stress and uncertainty for workers relying on their regular income.

Employee protection under California law

California law clearly states that employers cannot withhold an employee’s pay due to a customer’s non-payment. Employees are entitled to their wages for the work they have completed, regardless of whether the employer receives payment from their clients. This protection ensures that workers do not suffer financial hardships due to circumstances beyond their control.

Regular and timely payment of wages

Employers in California must pay their employees regularly and on time. Typically, this means employees should receive their paychecks at least twice a month. If an employer fails to pay on the designated payday, it violates state labor laws. Employees should be aware that their wages are guaranteed by law and not subject to the whims of customer payments.

Deductions and withholding rules

While employers cannot withhold pay due to customer non-payment, they can make specific legal deductions. These include taxes, Social Security, and other mandated deductions. However, the employee must agree to any other deductions in writing or as otherwise required by law. Unauthorized deductions are illegal and can result in penalties for the employer.

What employees should do

If an employee faces a situation where their pay is withheld due to a customer’s non-payment, they should document the issue and report it to the appropriate authorities. Keeping records of hours worked, pay stubs, and any communication with the employer can help resolve disputes. Awareness of their rights empowers employees to take necessary actions if their wages are unfairly withheld.

California law protects employees from having their pay withheld for any unlawful reason. Employers must pay their employees on time and in full, regardless of their own financial issues with clients. Understanding these rights and protections helps ensure fair treatment and financial stability for all workers in the state.

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