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What is Required on Wage Statements in California, and How Often?

California law is particular when it comes to the information employers must put on their employees’ wage statements. In fact, the state is so strict that it imposes financial penalties on employers who fail to follow these specific requirements. Employers and employees, alike, must know and understand California’s legal requirements for wage statements to know whether or not the company is in compliance.

Wage Statements Explained

According to the state of California, a wage statement is a written, detachable document provided to employees as part of their check, draft, or voucher that pays wages. When an employee is paid by direct deposit, the wage statement is a copy of the paystub with a copy of the real check. Of note, California employers bear the responsibility for the accuracy of the wage statements provided. All of the information that is required by California law to be on a wage statement must be visible on the face of that statement. In other words, if an employee has to refer to another document to get the required information, the wage statement violates California law.

Wage Statement Requirements

Under California’s Labor Code, Section 226, there are nine pieces of information that must be included in all wage statements. These are:

  • Gross wages earned for that particular pay period;
  • Total number of hours worked for that particular pay period, except for employees who are exempt from minimum wage and overtime rules;
  • The number of piece-rate units earned as well as the applicable piece rates, if the employee is paid on this basis;
  • All deductions taken from the employee’s wages;
  • Net wages earned for that particular pay period;
  • The employee’s full name and employee identification number or, alternatively, the last four digits of the employee’s Social Security number;
  • The employing entity’s full legal name and address;
  • All applicable hourly rates that were in effect during that particular pay period and the number of hours the employee worked at each hourly rate.

In addition, companies that provide temporary employment services must provide employees with the wage statements that show the rate of pay as well as the total number of hours worked by the employee for each temporary services assignment.

Penalties for Violations

California law requires that employers provide accurate information to employees as well as the payroll company they use to prepare wage statements. Even minor errors and/or omissions in wage statements can result in large fines and penalties for California employers. Companies that violate California wage statement may face:

  • A penalty of $250 per employee for an initial violation and $1,000 per employee for subsequent violations of failing to provide a wage statement;
  • A penalty of up to $4,000 per employee for providing a worker with an inaccurate wage statement;
  • A penalty of $50 for the initial offense and $100 for subsequent offenses when an employer knowingly and intentionally failed to comply and that failure caused the employee harm.

Legal Help in California

If you or someone you know believes your California employer is in violation of wage statement requirements, be sure to speak with an experienced California employment lawyer right away. At Haig B. Kazandjian Lawyers, APC we can help go through the facts of your case to determine your strongest claims and assert your rights under applicable California and federal laws.

California Wage Statement Requirements for Certain Workers

A wage statement - often referred to as a pay stub - is a document that all employers give their workers every pay period. A wage statement explains to the worker how the paycheck was calculated. Under California law, there are specific requirements that employers must provide and certain information to which employees are entitled. Likewise, there are special rules that apply to different types of workers, with some exceptions.

Wage Statements

In general, wage statement that comply with California requirements provide employees with several pieces of information including receiving an accurate record of hours work, employee’s rate of pay, the wages paid to the worker, and any deductions taken out of the worker’s pay. State law is designed to ensure workers can keep their wage statements and have a record of their earnings. That being said, there are particular rules that apply to certain workers. These include security guards, piece-rate employees, and temporary services workers. Moreover, there is a home services exception under the California law.

Special Requirements: Piece-Rate Employees

California employers who pay piece-rate employees must pay them for rest and recovery times as well as other non-productive times and these times must be paid at specified minimum hourly rates. When employees are paid on a piece-rate basis, the wage statement must show the number of piece-rate units earned by the worker and the applicable piece-rate. California employers must include specific information on a piece-rate employee’s wage statement, such as:

  • The total hours of payable rest and recovery times, including the rate of those times and the total gross wages; and
  • The total hours of payable non-productive time, including the rate of those times and the total gross wages.

Special Requirements: Temporary Service Employees

When a temporary services employer, referred to as a temp service agency, contracts workers for certain types of services or jobs, the wage statements of these workers must provide detailed information because these employees often work at different rates for different assignments. Therefore, the rate of pay and the number of hours worked by the temp worker must be on the wage statement for each temporary assignment worked.

Special Requirements: Home Services Exception

Of note, California’s wage statement laws do not generally apply to home service workers. Home services workers are individuals who are employed by the owner or occupant of a residential home. These workers provide personal services connected to the maintenance, ownership, or use of the home. The wage statement exception applies to childcare workers, as well as contractors who are hired to repair or remodel the home.

California Legal Help

If you have questions about California’s wage statement regulations, contact the experienced attorneys at Haig B. Kazandjian Lawyers, APC. Our skilled lawyers are familiar with California’s wage laws. We can explain your rights and obligations in the workplace under state law so you can make sure you are receiving the wages to which you are entitled. Contact us today for your initial consultation.

What can I Recover if My Wage Statement is Inaccurate?

When a California employer violates wage and hour laws, there are multiple ways in which an affected employee can seek relief under the state’s legal system. Under state law, employees may collect a penalty from California employers for providing inaccurate or incomplete wage statements. In order to do so, however, and employer must prove two things — that the employer intentionally and knowingly failed to provide a compliant wage statement, and the employee suffered harm.

Knowing and Intentional

The knowing and intentional failure requirement under California law has a particular legal meaning. First, the violation of law can not be excused by a good faith mistake of fact or law on the part of the California employer. Reliance on a mistake of law means that the employer must be able to show that the legal requirements were not clear. Mistake of fact, on the other hand, means that the California employer’s actions must have been reasonable at the time they were made and supported by some evidence. Finally, knowing and intentional does not include an inadvertent error.

Employee Injury

It is important to understand that a California employee can only collect a wage statement penalty if he or she suffers an injury. Under the law, an injury can occur under two scenarios. First, an employee injury is automatic when a California employer knowingly and intentionally failed to provide any wage statement whatsoever. Second, a California employee suffers an injury when the employer provides a wage statement but wrongly states or omits one or more of a list of specific information. This includes the amount of gross or net wages in that pay period, total number of hours worked for a non-exempt employee, number of piece-rate units earned in that pay period for piece-rate employees, itemization of all deductions from gross wages, the dates included in the pay period, employer’s name and address, applicable hourly rates in effect for that pay period and hours worked, and the name of the employee and last four digits of the Social Security number or employee identification number.

Damages Available

If a California employee is entitled to a wage statement penalty under the particular circumstances, then he or she is able to recover the greater of $50.00 for the first pay period under which the violation occurred; $100.00 for each additional pay period under which the violation occurs, for a maximum of $4,000.00; and the worker’s actual damages, if any. A California employee who suffers injuries due to a wage statement violation can also recover costs and attorneys’ fees incurred while seeking a remedy for the injury. Injured employees are not, however, entitled to recover punitive damages because the aforementioned recoveries are already a penalty.

Seeking Legal Help

Generally, there are three ways in which an injured California employee may seek legal remedies for wage statement violations. These include informally resolving the dispute with the employer, bringing forward an administrative claim for wages and penalties or filing a lawsuit in civil court. If you have questions about California’s wage statement regulations, contact the experienced attorneys at Haig B. Kazandjian Lawyers, APC.

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