Q: I am terminating an employee. He was paid already for the last job he completed. Do I need to issue a final paycheck?
I am terminating this employee for attendance. We pay our employees after jobs are completed. He completed his last assignment and was paid. Do I need to issue him a final paycheck with the amount $0 (since he has not worked since his last paycheck) or am I not required to do this and only serve him a letter of termination?
A: Under California's Labor Code you must pay the employee all wages that were earned and unpaid when you fired the employee on his last day of work. For purposes of the law, unpaid wages includes earned and unused vacation, missed meal breaks and rest periods, as well as overtime. If you did not cash out the employee on his last day for any unused vacation, missed meal breaks and rest periods and/or overtime, then you have not complied with the law. You could be liable to the employee for a waiting-time penalty, which is is calculated by multiplying the employee's daily rate of pay by the number of days that the employee was not paid, up to a maximum of 30 days. Check with a licensed California lawyer for specific guidance on this question.
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