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Your Legal Corner - Client Alert Blog

Damages Presumed If Employer Fails To Provide Proper Pay Stubs

Written By: Melissa C. Marsh, Esq., California Attorney, October 2012 Add to Favorites
Pursuant to Labor Code 226, all employers are required at the time of each wage payment to provide each employee an accurate itemized wage statement (pay stub) showing:


  1. gross wages earned;
  2. total hours worked by the employee, except for any salaried employee exempt from overtime;
  3. the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis;
  4. all deductions;
  5. net wages earned;
  6. the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid;
  7. the name of the employee and the last four digits of his or her social security number or employee identification number;
  8. the employer's full legal name and address;
  9. all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee; and
  10. if the employer is a temporary services employer1 as defined in Labor Code 201.3, the rate of pay for each temporary services assignment and the total hours worked for each legal entity.

Effective January 1, 2013, the failure to provide an accurate wage statement can lead to an award of stiff statutory damages plus attorney's fees and costs.

Under the new law, an employee will be presumed to have suffered injury and in turn be entitled to statutory damages if a California employer is found to have either (1) failed to provide a wage statement; or (2) failed to provide one or more of its employees with an "accurate and complete" wage statement (payroll stub) pursuant to Labor Code 226 and the employee cannot promptly without reference to other documents or information determine any of the following from the wage statement provided: (1) gross or net wages paid during the pay period, (2) total hours worked (unless salaried and exempt from overtime), (3) hourly rates and corresponding hours worked at each rates, (4) the number of piece rate units and rate (if applicable), (5) total deductions, (6) the actual dates included in the pay period, (7) the employer's full legal name and address, (8) the employee's name, and (9) the last 4 digits of the employee's social security number, or employee identification number.

Absent proof that the omission or misinformation on a wage statement (or payroll stub) was an "isolated and unintentional payroll error due to a clerical or inadvertent mistake," the employee may sue the employer for a reasonable attorneys fees and costs plus a statutory penalty of $50 for the initial pay period in which the violation occurred, and a $100 penalty per employee per pay period for each subsequent violation up to $4,000.

Effective January 1, 2013, Labor Code Section 226 further provides that an itemized wage statement "copy", for purposes of the Labor Code 226′s requirement that an employer retain a "copy" of the wage statements for at least 3 years after the employee's termination can include a computer-generated record rather than an actual duplicate copy.


1 Security services companies that are licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs and solely provide security services are specifically excluded from the above requirement imposed upon temporary services employers.

Tags: pay stubs, wage statement
Posted In: Employment Law News 

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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.