Waiting Time Penalties under California Labor Code section 203

What are Waiting Time Penalties?

California Labor Code Section 203 provides for penalties to workers who are not paid all wages due at the time of their termination, or within 72 hours of their resignation. Waiting time penalties are in the amount of the wages that the worker normally earns, up to a maximum of 30 days. Accordingly, if a worker normally earned $25 per hour, and worked 8 hours per day, his penalties would max out at $6000 if the employer failed to pay him the wages due for 30 days or more.

Waiting Time Penalties under Labor Code section 203 are not discretionary

In the recent case of Diaz v. Grill Concepts Services, Inc. (May 24, 2018), the Second District Court of Appeal held that trial courts do not have the discretion to dispense with waiting time penalties under California Labor Code section 203.

The court reached this conclusion based upon a common sense interpretation of the language of the statute, which provides that an employer which fails to pay wages due to an employee who is discharged or quits “shall” be liable for the penalties. The court also considered the purpose of the statute, which is to enact a substantial penalty on an employer that delays in cutting the final paycheck. Finally, the court declined to create an equitable exception to the statute.

The holding in Diaz is important because workers rely upon their wages for the necessities of life. Diaz ensures that waiting time penalties are available in every case that wages are not properly paid at the time of termination.

If you have questions about your unpaid wages, please feel free to contact Hunter Pyle Law for a free and confidential initial consultation. We can be reached at (510) 444-4400 or inquire@hunterpylelaw.com.