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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Is it legal to require person to work a 40 hr + work week and

Customer Question

Is it legal to require person to work a 40 hr + work week and pay them commission only?
Can a company paying commission only to a sales person to not pay that sales person their last commission after they give their notice?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Generally, an employer in CA may pay employees only commissions so long as the commissions are equal to or greater than state minimum wage for actual hours worked.

Commission are "wages" pursuant to California law, and as such, they may not be forfeited once earned. Upon termination of employment, an employer must pay the employee at the time of termination (or within 72 hours if the employee quits and doesn't give notice) all commission wages earned that can be reasonably calculated at the time of termination. Labor Code § 201.

Failure to timely pay all such commissions may result in the employer being subject to penalties and fines pursuant to Labor Code section 203. ("If an employer willfully fails to pay, without abatement
or reduction...any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, the wages of the employee shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof at the same rate until paid or until an action therefor is commenced; but the wages shall not continue for more than 30 days.")

Accordingly, an employer cannot revoke commissions earned because commissions are "wages" and wages cannot be forfeited. Further, an employer is required to pay all commissions reasonably ascertainable upon separation of employment, or if the employee gives less than 72 hours notice of intent to quit, within 72 hours of separation of employment.

To file a wage claim with California's Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, visit this link:

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Would you be interested in representing me in front of the Ca. Labor Board LegalPro54?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you very much for the offer. Unfortunately, though, the terms of this website prohibit me from representing JA customers, so I must decline.

For attorney referrals, visit this link: or visit On MartinDale, you can search attorneys by their practice area, which is quite useful.

I wish you the very best.

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