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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: California Employment Law
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Does an employer have the right to deduct the amount an entire

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Does an employer have the right to deduct the amount an entire paycheck or several for an anticipated SDI amount that the did not confirm was even received or how much was expected to be received?
Good morning and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I think I need some more information to completely understand the situation.

Are you an hourly or salaried worker? Are they claiming they don't have to pay you for hourly work because of the SDI?

I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Thank you for your quick response. I am an hourly worker. I was on doctor recommended medical leave from 3/7/2013 - 4/1/2013. I received 2 full paychecks during my leave and another regular paycheck on 4/12/13 after I returned fro leave.


This past Friday, I checked my paycheck stub (I noticed I was not notified of my direct deposit - this entire pay period I was back from leave) and saw that my stub showed a balance of -$500. I contacted our HR department and they explained to me that they are deducting the assumed amount of CA State Disability I should have received. They are looking into when my paychecks should be positive again.


I have not received anything from CA SDI, I was just informed that my doctor did not complete a form they require to process my claim.


Is my employer justified to subtract an "assumed" amount of SDI from my paycheck leaving me with a negative balance on my pay stub?

Thank you very much for this additional information, it is very helpful to me.

Why did your employer pay you for the days that you missed work if you are an hourly worker? Was that accrued vacation or sick leave?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm not exactly sure, it was not itemized as vacation or sick leave. I did not submit a time card while I was out on leave.


I filed my claim with Liberty Mutual which was for short term disability and my claim was approved. They requested the information from my car accident and the at fault driver's insurance company to seek reimbursement. I do not know why I was paid for the days I missed work.

Thank you again for your reply.

It would seem that the conduct you describe is almost certainly illegal. While employers do not have to pay hourly employees for time they do not work, the fact is that wages were paid. Whether these wages were intended as a bonus of some kind, vacation pay, sick pay, or something else does not matter. Once wages are issued, provided the issuance is not by mistake, an employer cannot demand reimbursement for them and CERTAINLY cannot deduct from an employee's subsequently earned wages to pay that amount back.

California law zealously protects an employee's right to earned wages and permits wage deductions only in certain extremely limited circumstances as regulated by statute. See here for more information:

What you descirbe sounds like a highly illegal practice that may actually land your employer in a lot of trouble. An inividual in your circumstance would be wise to file a wage claim withthe Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, who will investigate this matter and issue an appropriate ruling. Employers are legally prohibited from retaliating against employees who file wage claims with the DLSE, so if any adverse employment action were to be taken against you following your complaint, that would give rise to an additional claim for compensatory damages.

To file a wage claim with the DLSE, visit this link:

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX argument is that they are deducting the amount they anticipated from California State disability. Do they have the right to tell me too bad your claim hasn't been processed with SDI?

This is not a valid justification. Employers can deduct from wages for amounts anticipated for SDI. Please let me know if I can clarify or offer any further assistance.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Just to clarify, they cannot deduct wages for anticipated SDI?

Yes, that is correct. My applogies for the typo above. I meant to say employers cannot deduct for SDI.
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