Is there a penalty for an employer does not pay my wages on time?

An employer who willfully fails to pay any wages due a terminated employee (discharge or quit) in the prescribed time frame may be assessed a waiting time penalty. The waiting time penalty is an amount equal to the employee's daily rate of pay for each day the wages remain unpaid, up to a maximum of thirty (30) calendar days.

An employee will not be awarded waiting time penalties if he or she avoids or refuses to receive payment of the wages due. If a good faith dispute (see below) exists concerning the amount of the wages due, no waiting time penalties would be imposed.

Even if there is a dispute, the employer must pay, without requiring a release, whatever wages are due and not in dispute. If the employer fails to pay what is undisputed, the "good faith" defense will be defeated whatever the outcome of the disputed wages. (Labor Code Section 206)

Good faith dispute
A "good faith dispute" that any wages are due occurs when an employer presents a defense, based in law or fact which, if successful, would preclude any recovery on the part of the employee. The fact that a defense is ultimately unsuccessful will not preclude a finding that a good faith dispute did exist. However, a defense that is unsupported by any evidence, is unreasonable, or is presented in bad faith, will preclude a finding of a "good faith dispute". (Labor Code Section 203 and Title 8, California Code of Regulations, Section 13520)

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