California law requires specific information on each wage statement issued to employees. Under California Labor Code Section 226(a), the following information must be included:
• gross wages earned
• net wages earned
• hourly rate the employee is being paid at
• dates of wages earned
• name of employee and the last four digits of their Social Security Number
• total hours worked by the employee
• all deductions
• name and address of legal entity of employer
If any of this information is missing or inaccurate, the employee is first entitled to recover whatever wages they are owed which was not reflected on the statement, such as unpaid overtime. More important, the employer can be liable for a civil penalty of $50 for the initial pay period where there was a violation, and then $100 per subsequent violation (these fines are capped at $400). If an attorney assists you in recovering unpaid wages and civil penalties, the law also allows for a recovery of attorney’s fees and costs.
Always remember to check each of your paychecks to ensure that the information is accurate and complete. You may realize too late that your employer has been issuing you inaccurate or incomplete paychecks for months or even years.