California employers are legally required by Labor Code § 226 to provide accurate, itemized wage statements showing “all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee.”
A California employer, semi-monthly or at the time of each payment of wages, must provide to employees, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, or separately if wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing.
This itemized statement must show the following information:
- gross wages earned,
- total hours worked by the employee,
- the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis,
- all deductions,
- net wages earned,
- the inclusive dates of the pay period,
- the name of the employee and only the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number,
- the name and address of the legal entity doing business as the employer, and
- all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee.
The format used by an employer for its wage statement must adequately convey the above information required by § 226 and allow an employee to readily determine, with simple math, whether wages were correctly calculated. Employers must be careful with wage statements. Any error on their employees’ wage statements may result in litigation and exposure to large damage awards.
Any employer that intentionally violates § 226 must pay each employee the greater of their actual damages or $50 for the initial pay period, plus $100 for each subsequent pay period in which a violation occurs, up to a maximum of $4,000. Employees are also entitled to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
Last year, in the Northern California Federal District Court, Walmart was ordered to pay nearly $102 million for various wage and hour violations, primarily based on its failure to provide wage statements that comply with § 226. The California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), codified in Labor Code § 2698, allows private individuals to bring a civil action to recover civil penalties on behalf of other current or former “aggrieved” employees, This applies to violations, including wage statement violations, of the California Labor Code.
As a worker in California, you have many important rights that must be constantly safeguarded. Even in 2021, many California employers try to work around legal requirements to increase their profits. If you believe that your employer is violating your rights, call Moss Bollinger for a free consultation to discuss solutions for asserting and defending these important, valuable rights. Moss Bollinger takes great pride in holding employers accountable for workplace violations that infringe upon the protections afforded every California worker by California law. Contact Moss Bollinger today at (866) 535-2994 or reach us online.