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Wage laws can be complicated, and it is important for every employee to be fully aware of their rights to full wages from their employers. If you believe you have been denied the wages you deserve, contact a California unpaid wages lawyer for help. 

When you think of wages, you might think of the hourly pay that you earn for your work. However, “wages” can mean a lot more under California law. Wages include any payment that you are owed for labor you perform for an employer, and this covers not only physical tasks and labor, but also all forms of services or work. 

The terms wages encompasses all forms of compensation, which can include:

  • Hourly wages
  • Salary
  • Agreed-upon and earned bonuses
  • Earned commission
  • Pay that changes depending on the work or project
  • Piece-rate pay

No matter how your employer compensates you, the right to receive full wages for your work does not change. 

Wages also include other aspects of a compensation package, such as:

  • Sick pay
  • Vacation pay
  • Room and board
  • Spending money
  • Clothing provided

For example, if you accrued vacation time under your employer’s policy and you did not use this time, your employer will have to pay wages for that time on your final paycheck. Hourly pay and salary are not the only matters that can be at issue in a claim for unpaid wages in California. 

Know Your Wage Rights

Everyone in California has the right to receive wages they rightfully earned, regardless of their immigration status or other factors. There are two ways you can be provided the right to wages, which include:

  • Under the California Labor Code – California law provides some of the strictest protections to employees of any state in the U.S. The Labor Code has many clear provisions providing employees with the right to receive all forms of wages they earn, and wage claims can be brought under the Labor Code. 
  • By contract – When an employer offers a certain wage, and the employee accepts the offer, they enter into a contract. In addition, some employers and employees sign written employment contracts that dictate all wages and benefits to be paid. Employees might bring wage claims as part of a breach of contract claim. 

There is another situation involving independent contractors. These contractors should receive payment for the work they complete according to the contract between the contractor and company. However, these do not constitute wages under California law. Some employers might misclassify workers as independent contractors, which might help them avoid an unpaid wage claim. An experienced attorney can identify whether or not you’ve been misclassified. 

Speak with Our California Unpaid Wages Lawyers

It is critical that you know the extent of the wages you deserve to be paid for your work, as well as pay attention and notice when you might have been deprived of rightful wages. It can help to have a California unpaid wages lawyer evaluate your situation and your rights. 

At the Mara Law Firm, we represent clients and help them seek unpaid wages, whether it is due to hour miscalculation, denial of overtime rates, or other factors. Call (619) 234-2833 or contact us online for a free case evaluation to learn about your rights and how we can help.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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