Wage Payment: Payday Frequency: How often must wages be paid in California?

Jan 25, 2016

In California, wages, with some exceptions, must be paid at least twice during each calendar month on the days designated in advance as regular paydays. The employer must establish a regular payday and is required to post a notice that shows the day, time and location of payment.

Labor Code Section 204 provides:

  • Wages earned between the 1st and the 15th day of any calendar month must be paid no later than the 26th day of the month during which the labor was performed.
  • Wages earned between the 16th and the last day of the month must be paid by the 10th day of the following month.

Other payroll periods such as weekly, biweekly (every two weeks) or semimonthly (twice per month), when the earning period is something other than between the 1st and 15th, and 16th and last day of the month, must be paid within seven calendar days of the end of the payroll period within which the wages were earned.

The following exceptions exist:

Executive, administrative and professional employees - May be paid once a month on or before the 26thday of the month during which the labor was performed if the entire month's salary, including the unearned portion between the date of payment and the last day of the month, is paid at that time. Such employees may be paid more frequently. Labor Code 204

Workers employed by a farm labor contractor- Must be paid on payroll periods at least once every week on a business day designated in advance by the farm labor contractor. Payment on such payday must include all wages earned up to and including the fourth day before such payday. Labor Code 205

Employees in agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, stock or poultry raising, and household domestic service who are boarded and lodged by their employer - Must be paid once in each calendar month on a day designated in advance by the employer as the regular payday. No two successive paydays shall be more than 31 days apart, and the payment must include all wages up to the regular payday. Labor Code 205

Employees of a motor vehicle dealer licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles who are paid commission wages (mechanics and other employees performing repair or related services are not considered commissioned employees) - Must be paid once during each calendar month on a day designated in advance by the employer as the regular payday. However, when such employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that provides for the date on which wages shall be paid, such arrangement takes precedence over state law. Labor Code 204.1

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations

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