HR Management & Compliance

Short Takes: Waiting Time Penalty

We failed to pay an employee who gave us the required 72 hours of notice his final pay on his last day of work, a Friday. We notified him on the following Monday that the check was ready. He said he would pick it up but then didn’t come for it for 10 days. He says we owe him a “waiting time” penalty for 13 days. Is that right?

The HR Management & Compliance Report: How To Comply with California Wage & Hour Law, explains everything you need to know to stay in compliance with the state’s complex and ever-changing rules, laws, and regulations in this area. Coverage on bonuses, meal and rest breaks, overtime, alternative workweeks, final paychecks, and more.

You don’t owe the waiting time penalty for 13 days, but you do owe it for 3 days. Labor Code Section 202 requires you to pay the unpaid wages on the last workday, as long as the employee gave 72 hours notice and quit on the day he said he would. When you didn’t make the payment then, the penalty started to accrue. However, the “tender of payment” of the final wages stops the penalty from accumulating. In your case, tender of payment occurred when you informed the employee that the check was available, and the employee told you he would pick it up. So the penalty stopped on the third day. — CELA Editors