California Labor Laws provide great protection for employees. Here are some key Labor Law codes that every employee should know about wages.

What are Wages?
Labor Code Section 200 (a) defines wages as including all amounts for labor performed by employees of every description, whether the amount is fixed or ascertained by the standard of time, task, piece, commission basis, or other methods of calculation. Part (b) states that labor includes work or service whether rendered or performed under contract, subcontract, partnership, station plan, or other agreement if the labor to be paid for is performed personally by the person demanding payment.

Employees should be discerning as to what their wages actually cover and not presume that their labors are not reimbursable for wages.

What Should Happen If I Am Terminated?
Labor Code Section 201 (a) explains what should happen at the time of employment termination. It provides that if an employer discharges an employee, the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately.

Employers who willfully fail to pay the wages earned immediately at the time of discharge are governed by Labor Code Sections 201, 201.5, 202, and 205.5. These codes provide a penalty to the employer which is the continuation of the employee’s wages from the date they were due, at the same rate until paid or until an action is commenced. This penalty may continue for up to 30 days.

An employee may file a lawsuit for these penalties at any time before the expiration of the statute of limitations.

What Should Happen If I Quit?
Labor Code Section 202 (a) provides specific rules governing wage payment for an employee who quits. It states that if an employee not having a written contract for a definite period quits his or her employment, his or her wages shall become due and payable not later than 72 hours thereafter.

The Code adds that if the employee has given 72 hours previous notice of his or her intention to quit, the employee is entitled to his or her wages at the time of quitting. Additionally, an employee who quits without providing a 72-hour notice shall be entitled to receive payment by mail if he or she so requests and designates a mailing address. The date of the mailing shall constitute the date of payment for purposes of the requirement to provide payment within 72 hours of the notice of quitting.