When Must Employees Be Paid Their Wages?


The California Labor Code has specific laws regarding when an employee must be paid the wages they have earned.

General Rule

When an employee is required to be paid depends on whether the employee is paid an hourly wage, a salary, or commission.

Posting of Notice of Regular Pay Days

An employer is required to “keep posted conspicuously at the place of work, if practicable, or otherwise where it can be seen as employees come and go to their places of work, or at the office or nearest agency for payment kept by the employer, a notice specifying the regular pay days and the time and place of payment …”

Hourly Employees

Subject to a few exceptions, non-exempt employees who are paid an hourly wage must be paid twice each month. Wages earned between the 1st and 15th of the month must be paid between the 16th and 26th of that month and wages earned between the 16th and end of the month must be paid between the 1st and 10th of the following month.

Note: Employees paid on a weekly basis shall be paid their earned wages for that week within seven calendar days.

Overtime Pay

Overtime wages for overtime hours worked must be paid, at the latest, by the payday for the pay period that is subsequent to the pay period in which the overtime wages were earned. Thus, if an employee works overtime hours in one pay period, an employer has until the end of following pay period to pay those overtime wages.

Salaried Employees

Exempt employees may be paid once per month. This however requires that the employee's entire monthly salary be paid to that employee on or before the 26th day of the month.

Special Rules for Certain Employees

Agricultural and Domestic Employees: Unless they receive room and board as part of their compensation, agricultural and domestic employees must be paid at least twice a month. If they receive room and board as part of their compensation, agricultural and domestic employees may be paid once per month.

Farm Labor Contractors: Employees of farm labor contractors must be paid at least once a week on a business day that is designated in advance and this payment must include all wages earned up to and including the fourth day before such payday.

Car Salesmen Paid on Commission Basis: Employees of car dealerships who are paid on a commission basis must receive their commission once a month on a day designated in advance as a regular payday.

“Temp” Employees: Employees hired by a temporary services agency to work for their client may be paid by the agency at the end of the week even if an assignment ends during the week. However, if an employee is assigned to work for a client on a day to day basis, and reports to the temporary service agency upon completion of the assignment, wages are due and payable at the end of each day.

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