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Final Pay California

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  • Final Pay California

    I am an employer in CA. Love this site by the way. We rarely have to terminate employees but last Friday did so for one individual. This employee lives over 300 miles away and is not capable of picking up their check, so we next day aired the check. Being a holiday weekend the check arrived on Tuesday. This ex-employee is claiming that we are required to hand deliver their final check and now owe them 3 extra days of pay. I am looking to do the right thing, do we owe them the 3 extra days?

  • #2
    I will let DAW address the issue of the three days pay, but I do want to offer a suggestion.

    I used to work for a MA company that had two offices in CA. Payroll was run in MA. On those rare occasions when we were planning to term a CA employee without notice, we next-day aired the check the day BEFORE the termination, so that it arrived same-day. We would put it to the attention of the manager so that the employee would not get an unpleasant surprise if it was delivered early, but if you have to send it directly to the employee I believe there are some services where you can pre-schedule the time of the delivery.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      Lets say that next Monday Bob is terminated. If we fire Bob or Bob quits with at least 72 due hours notice, then the check must be issued and mailed on Monday. If Bob quits with less then 72 hours notice, then the check must be issued and mailed no later then Thursday.

      Please note what I did not say. I did not say that the check must be received by a certain date. I did not say that FedEx must be used. I did not say that the employee must be happy that they were fired. I said that the check must be issued and mailed by a certain date, and "mailed" can mean snail mail (US post office). You want to be able to prove you are in compliance and FedEx is a great way of doing this. FedEx is also a great counter to a "willful" violation argument (see below).

      If you terminated your employee on Friday and issued and mailed the check the same day, then you are in compliance with CA law. The employee can certainly file a wage claim with CA-DLSE. If they do, just tell the truth. CA-DLSE can do anything CA-DLSE feels like, but I have never once lost a wage claim with facts similar to what you have stated. If you read the actual law, the employee has to show that the employer willfully paid them late for the late payment penalty to apply. You have not paid late under CA-DLSE rules and there certainly is no willful element.

      I have had employees who did not give us a current address, the terminal payment went FedEx to the bad address, the employee tried for the late payment penalty and CA-DLSE denied the late payment penalty because us sending FedEx to the only address we had for the employee when due means no willful failure to try and pay the employee in time. There is NOTHING automatic about the late payment penalty.
      Last edited by DAW; 01-06-2012, 11:19 AM.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)