Reveal Law

Mastering Pay Periods and Paydays: Your Guide to California Labor Code 204

California Labor Code 204: Understanding Pay Periods and

PaydaysWhen it comes to receiving your hard-earned wages, understanding the requirements set forth by California Labor Code 204 is crucial. This code outlines the regulations regarding pay periods and paydays, ensuring that employees are paid in a timely and fair manner.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the specifics of this labor code, exploring pay periods, paydays, and the requirements for overtime wages payment. By the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of your rights as an employee in California.

California Labor Code 204 Requirements for Pay Periods and


Pay Periods

In California, the law requires employers to adhere to specific pay periods. Employees must be paid at least twice during each calendar month.

The first period runs from the 1st to the 15th of the month, while the second period covers the 16th to the last day of the month. This bi-monthly payment structure ensures that employees receive their wages in a timely manner.

It is important for both employers and employees to be aware of these dates to avoid any discrepancies or delays in payment.


Not only do employers need to adhere to a set pay period schedule, but they must also designate specific paydays in advance. In accordance with California Labor Code 204, employees must receive their wages on these designated paydays.

Typically, paydays occur on the 26th day of the month. However, in cases where a payday falls on a nonworking day, such as a weekend or holiday, the payment must be made on the next working day.

This ensures that employees receive their wages promptly, even in exceptional circumstances. One exception to this rule is when the pay period end falls on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th of the month.

In this case, the wages must be paid on or before the 10th day of the following month. By designating specific paydays in advance, employers can ensure transparency and consistency in the payment process.

Overtime Wages Payment Requirements

Timing of Overtime Wages Payment

In addition to regular wages, some employees may be entitled to overtime wages. Overtime wages are calculated based on the number of hours an employee works beyond their regular work schedule.

According to California labor laws, employers must pay overtime wages on the regular payday for the next payroll period. This means that if an employee has worked overtime hours between a pay period, the additional wages earned from overtime should be included in the subsequent payment.

It is important for employees to keep track of their overtime hours and ensure that they are compensated accordingly.

Corrections on Paystub for Overtime Hours Worked

To ensure transparency and accuracy, employers are required to provide itemized pay stubs that reflect any corrections or adjustments. If any errors are identified in the calculation of overtime hours worked, the employer must provide a subsequently issued paystub that includes the accurate information.

These corrections must clearly state the inclusive dates of the pay period in question and specify the adjustments made for overtime hours worked. By providing detailed information on the paystub, employers can rectify any discrepancies and ensure that employees are rightfully compensated for their overtime work.

In conclusion, being familiar with California Labor Code 204 is essential for both employers and employees. Understanding the requirements for pay periods and paydays ensures that employees receive their wages promptly and fairly.

Additionally, knowing the regulations surrounding overtime wages payment guarantees that employees are compensated for their hard work and dedication. By upholding these labor laws, employers can establish trust and transparency, while employees can rest assured that their rights are being protected.

So, whether you are an employer or an employee, make sure to consult California Labor Code 204 to ensure compliance with the state’s labor regulations. Exceptions and Collective Bargaining Agreements

Exceptions to Pay Periods and


While California Labor Code 204 sets out the general requirements for pay periods and paydays, there are exceptions to these regulations.

Specifically, salaries of executive, administrative, and professional employees who are exempt from overtime provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may be paid on different terms. Under the FLSA, certain employees may be classified as exempt from overtime pay if they meet specific criteria such as having a salary above a certain threshold and performing certain job duties.

For these exempt employees, California Labor Code 204 does not mandate the same bi-monthly pay period and paydays. Instead, employers have more flexibility in determining the frequency of payment for these employees.

While exempt employees may be subject to a different pay structure, it is important to note that they must still receive their salary in a timely manner. These salaries must be paid at least once a month on a regularly established payday.

Employers must clearly communicate the payday schedule to their exempt employees to ensure transparency and compliance with the law.

Application of Collective Bargaining Agreements

Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) play an important role in the determination of pay period and payday requirements. CBAs are negotiated agreements between employers and labor unions that outline the terms and conditions of employment for covered employees.

When a CBA is in effect, it may establish different pay arrangements that apply to covered employees. This means that the requirements stipulated in California Labor Code 204 may not be applicable.

Instead, the terms outlined in the CBA govern the pay periods and paydays for the employees covered by the agreement. CBAs can provide benefits for both employers and employees.

They allow for customized agreements that are tailored to the specific needs of a particular industry or workforce. However, it is important to ensure that CBAs are compliant with applicable labor laws and provide fair compensation and working conditions for the employees they cover.

Timeframe for Wage Payment

Seven-Day Rule for Weekly, Biweekly, or Semimonthly Payroll

For employees who are not exempt from overtime provisions under the FLSA, California Labor Code 204 establishes a timeframe for wage payments. According to this code, wages must be paid within seven calendar days following the close of the payroll period.

This seven-day rule applies to various pay periods, including weekly, biweekly, or semimonthly payroll cycles. It ensures that employees receive their wages in a prompt and timely manner, allowing them to meet their financial obligations.

Employers are responsible for accurately calculating and disbursing wages to their employees within this timeframe. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in penalties and legal consequences.

Employers should prioritize adherence to the seven-day rule to maintain good labor practices and avoid potential disputes with their employees.

Payment Schedule for University of California Employees

Employees of the University of California (UC) system have a different payment schedule than what is outlined in California Labor Code 204. UC employees are typically paid on a monthly basis, with payment due within five days after the close of the monthly payroll period.

It is worth noting that UC has the authority to establish different pay periods and paydays than what is mandated by state law. In certain circumstances, the university may announce a more frequent payment schedule, such as biweekly or semimonthly, for its employees.

This flexibility allows UC to accommodate the unique needs of its workforce and ensure timely payment. Employees of the University of California should consult with their specific campus or UC system for detailed information on their payment schedules.

By familiarizing themselves with the university’s policies, employees can ensure that they are aware of the payment timelines and can accurately budget their finances. In conclusion, while California Labor Code 204 sets out the general requirements for pay periods and paydays, there are exceptions and variations to consider.

Exempt employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and employees covered by collective bargaining agreements may have different pay arrangements than those outlined in the labor code. Additionally, there are specific timeframes for wage payment, including the seven-day rule for weekly, biweekly, or semimonthly payroll and the payment schedule for University of California employees.

By understanding these exceptions and timeframes, both employers and employees can ensure compliance with the law and maintain fair and transparent payment practices.

Penalties for Late Wage Payment

Financial Penalties under Labor Code 210

Ensuring timely wage payment is not just a matter of good practice; it is also a legal requirement in California. Employers who fail to pay their employees on time may face financial penalties under California Labor Code 210.

Under this code, employers who willfully fail to pay their employees on time can be subject to a penalty known as a “waiting time penalty.” This penalty is calculated at the employee’s daily rate of pay for each day that the wages remain unpaid, up to a maximum of 30 days. The waiting time penalty serves as compensation for the employee’s inconvenience and financial hardships caused by the late payment.

It is important to note that the waiting time penalty is not limited to late payment of regular wages. It also applies to late payment of overtime wages, vacation pay, and other forms of compensation accrued during employment.

Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that all wages and earned benefits are paid to employees on time. To enforce the waiting time penalty, an employee can file a claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office or pursue legal action through the court system.

By holding employers accountable for late wage payment, the state aims to protect the rights of workers and maintain fair labor practices.

Related Article on Sales Commissions Payment

Frequency of Sales Commissions Payment

In addition to understanding the requirements for regular wages, it is important for employees and employers in California to be aware of the rules governing sales commissions payment. Sales commissions are a form of compensation typically paid to sales representatives or employees who receive a percentage of the sales they generate.

In California, sales commissions must be paid in a timely manner, just like regular wages. However, there is no specific legal requirement regarding the frequency of sales commissions payment.

The timing of commission payments can be outlined in an employment contract, collective bargaining agreement, or other written agreement between the employer and employee. To avoid any confusion or disputes, it is recommended that employers clearly communicate the frequency of sales commissions payment to their employees.

Establishing a consistent and regular cycle, such as monthly or quarterly, can help ensure that employees receive their commission earnings in a timely manner. Employees should also be aware of their rights regarding commission payments.

It is important to review any applicable employment contracts or agreements to understand the payment terms and conditions. If there are concerns or discrepancies regarding commission payments, employees should consult with their employer or seek legal advice to ensure that their rights are protected.


In conclusion, California labor laws provide clear guidelines for payroll practices, including pay periods and paydays. Employers must adhere to these requirements to ensure that employees receive their wages in a timely and fair manner.

Exceptions and variations exist for certain categories of employees, such as those exempt from overtime provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act or covered by collective bargaining agreements. Employers who fail to comply with the payment regulations set forth in California Labor Code 204 may face financial penalties under Labor Code 210.

The waiting time penalty serves as a deterrent and compensatory measure for employees who experience late wage payment. Additionally, employers and employees should be aware of the rules governing sales commissions payment.

While there is no specific legal requirement for the frequency of commission payments, establishing clear and consistent payment cycles can help maintain transparency and minimize disputes. By understanding these regulations and requirements, both employers and employees can foster a fair and harmonious work environment that prioritizes timely and accurate wage payment.

It is important to consult the specific labor codes, seek legal advice if necessary, and communicate openly to ensure compliance and protect the rights of all parties involved.

Popular Posts