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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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If an employee came in and quit Friday afternoon without any

Customer Question

If an employee came in and quit Friday afternoon without any prior notice, does the 72 hour period for getting them a check end on Monday afternoon? (i.e., do I effectively have less than 8 business to get them a check for their final payment?

Also, what happens if I already have payroll in process for them?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Yes, the 72 hour period would end on Monday afternoon under the circumstances you describe, as Labor Code section 201 does not discriminate between business days and non-business days.

What is important to note, however, is that the mailing date--not the date of receipt--is the relevant date for determining whether a payment of final wages was timely delivered. See Labor Code 201.5(c):

"The payment shall be deemed to have been made on the date that the employee's wages are mailed to the employee or made available to the employee at the location specified by the employer, whichever is earlier."

Furthermore, penalties will only be assessed against the employer if the failure to timely pay wages is found to have been wilfull. So, as long as an employer can demonstrate that they have done everything they can to get the payment out within the requisite period of time, they are unlikely to be penalized in any fashion.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Do I have the choice of mailing even if the employee offers to come in to the office? Also, what about the situation I asked about where the employee game notice but we had already processed payroll and had a direct deposit payment set up for them?

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Dan,

Thanks for your reply. The remainder of Labor Code 201.5(c) states as follows:

"The payment of wages to employees covered by this section may be mailed to the employee or made available to the employee at a location specified by the employer in the county where the employee was hired or performed labor." (Emphasis added)

The way the law is worded, it would seem as though the employer has the discretion to choose either method of delivery--requiring the employee to either pick up the check or mailing it out to them within the 72 hour period. The way the law is written, the employee has no right to demand that he pick up the check.

Unfortunately, there is no exception to the rules governing timely payment of final wages if an employer has already processed payroll and had a direct deposit set up for the employee who is quitting that is consistent with the regular pay periods.

Again, I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.

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Patrick, Esq.
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