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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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My employer pays once a month on the 15th, but does not pay

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My employer pays once a month on the 15th, but does not pay for the current work of the current month. Instead he pays the following month for the previous month's work. For example tomorrow is the 15th, but I will not be paid until Sept 15th for the month of August. Is this right?
Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I will do everything I can to assist you.

What you are describing is called payment "in arrears" and is an acceptable, indeed common, method of paying one's employees. What is not common, however, is the fact you are only paid once a month, which under most circumstances is illegal. That is what makes the payment in arrears "hurt" a bit more, since you are effectively working for a month at a time before you are paid for your efforts.

According to Labor Code 204, "All wages, other than those mentioned in Section 201, 201.3, 202, 204.1, or 204.2, earned by any person in any employment are due and payable twice during each calendar month, on days designated in advance by the employer as the regular paydays."

The primary exceptions to this rule pertain to employees covered by collective bargaining agremeents (i.e. the union can agreement to payment once a month) or employees in the film industry. There is also an exception for certain professional and executive employees working on a salary basis who are compensated additional wages for time worked in excess of 40 hours per week. That additional time need only be paid once per month.

Unless you fall within an exception, you are most likely entitled to be paid twice a month. So, while payment in arrears is legal, you should most likely be getting paid twice as frequently as you are, which will make payment in arrears a bit more manageable for you.

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.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ah I see. I work at a digital creative agency and I am a salaried employee and do not get paid for any overtime I work, which is a lot more than 40 hours a week. I am not sure how to broach this subject with my boss in a friendly manner so they don't potentially fire me.


Thanks for your reply.

It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for attempting to assert any of his or her rights under the labor code. So, if your employer were to terminate, demote you, or cut your pay in reaction to your request that you are paid on a more frequent basis, that would give rise to an entirely separate claim for damages.

I think that a tactfully worded, non-threatening request for payment twice a month would be unlikely to elicit a retaliatory response. In this case, a simple email indicating that someone told you employees are entitled to payment on a more frequent basis and asking whether that is possible would probably be the best first step. Enough to gently alert your employer to their non-compliance but not so overt as to be interpretted like a threat.

Depending on how important it is for you to be paid more frequently, and knowing that despite your legal protection you may be damaging your personal relationship with your employer to pursue this issue more aggresively, it is up to you what next steps to take if informal communication does not yield a positive result.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. 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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