California employers are required to provide their employees with wage statements, also commonly known as “pay stubs,” for every pay period they work. The itemized pay statement is supposed to provide an explanation as to how the employee’s pay is calculated.
There are very specific legal requirements that dictate what information must be included in an employee’s wage statement in California. Generally, however, a wage statement includes the number of hours worked, the rate of pay, the gross amount of wages paid, deductions taken from the gross pay and the net amount of the employee’s pay.
What Does the California Labor Code Section 226 Say?
The law that governs itemized pay statements in California is found at Labor Code § 226 (a).
The law provides that every employer shall, at the time of each payment of wages, furnish to their employees an accurate itemized statement in writing showing:
(1) gross wages earned;
(2) total hours worked by the employee;
(3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis;
(4) all deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item;
(5) net wages earned;
(6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid;
(7) the name of the employee and the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number;
(8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer;
(9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee.
California Labor Code 226 also requires that the itemized statement state the month, day, and year of the deductions. A copy of the statement and a record of all deductions must be kept on file by the employer for at least three years.
Why Itemized Wage & Pay Statements are Important
California wage statements are important because they provide an official record of payments to the employee and show whether the employee was properly compensated for the work they performed. Further, itemized wage statements indicate that the employee paid all required taxes, and that the employer withheld the correct amount for all other deductions.
An itemized wage statement is also essential because it allows the employee to determine the accuracy of their net wages and is often necessary to qualify for credit.
How To Know Whether You Are Receiving A Compliant Wage Statement
It is not very difficult to determine whether you are receiving a compliant wage statement from your employer. You should review your itemized wage statement each pay period to ensure that it complies with California’s Labor Code 226.
- First, you should determine whether the gross pay and total hours worked for the pay period is correct. You can do this by comparing your wage statement against the hours reported on your timesheet.
- Next, make sure that there are deductions for federal and state taxes, as well as Social Security and Medicare. The amount withheld in taxes will determine whether you owe the government taxes at the end of the year, or if you will receive a refund.
- After taxes, your employer may take deductions for health insurance, flexible spending accounts, or retirement savings. Check to see that all of your deductions are listed on your pay stub, and that the correct amount is being withheld from each category.
- Make sure your complete legal name and the address of your employer are listed correctly on the pay stub. You can confirm the correct spelling of the name of your employer by running a business name search on the California Secretary of State website.
- Surprisingly, many employers fail to list their correct and complete legal name on the itemized pay statements, which can cause issues for you when a creditor or new employer needs to verify your employment.
If there is an error in your itemized wage statement, immediately report the error to your employer. In most instances, your employer will be able to offer assistance in correcting any inconsistencies in your California wage statement.
How A Wage & Hour Attorney Can Help Ensure Your Rights Are Enforced
There are different ways an experienced employment law attorney can help protect your rights under California’s Labor Code 226.
A lawyer can analyze your wage statements and explain whether they are compliant with Labor Code § 226 (a), and the remedies you are entitled for your employer’s violation of this requirement.
For example, section 226(e) of the California Labor Code states that any employer who complies with section 226(a) of the Labor Code and knowingly and intentionally fails to provide an employer with a wage statement is liable to its employee for damages.
Depending on the number of violations your employer has committed, it is responsible for all actual damages or up to $4,000 per employee plus reimbursement of attorney’s fees and court costs.
Also, if you don’t have copies of your pay stubs and aren’t’ sure how to go about getting them, an experienced employment law attorney can advise you of your rights under California Labor Code § 226 (c) to obtain copies from your employer or face a mandatory fine of $750.
Why Choose The Employment Law Attorneys At Pimentel Law?
At Pimentel Law, we have over a decade of experience helping workers who are subjected to Labor Code violations, including failing to receive proper itemized pay statements. We provide our clients with a high level of legal representation in order to obtain large verdicts and settlements on their behalf.
Our wage and hour attorneys handle a small caseload so that we can give each client the attention to detail that they deserve. We also return all of our clients’ phone calls and emails by the next business day, but usually the same day.
Also, with extensive trial experience, our attorneys are capable of taking your case to trial if we cannot reach an out-of-court agreement with your employer.
If you suspect that your employer is violating section 226 of the California Labor Code, contact our office now at (877) 265-8084 for a free consultation. Or, if you prefer, you can also reach us online via email or live chat.