Advice regarding final paycheck

California, small non-profit (<10 employees), “boss” is board of directors (no director or general manager)

Five of us quit our jobs this week, which amounts to all three permanent staff and two seasonal. Working conditions were deplorable and the board of directors had created a very hostile workplace.

My last day was Tuesday. I received my final paycheck on Thursday (within the 72 hr time frame). I didn’t look at it until just now and noticed that I was paid for all my regular hours, but not the 6 hrs of sick time I took last Saturday. Obviously I need to contact them to correct this, but I anticipate push back.

Questions: Email the board of directors and request I be paid? mention the penalty for not paying? Send a registered letter? Contact an employment lawyer?

One of my coworkers just told me her paycheck has not been made available to her yet. It has been more than 72 hours for her. I am in the process of checking with the other three. Several of my coworkers are very young and this was their first real job. I don’t know if they know the laws.

Any thoughts or direction to proceed would be helpful.

Start simple - phone or (probably) email requesting they be paid. If you get a negative or no response, next email references applicable laws. Is there any type of employee handbook? If so, does it say anything about giving appropriate notice as it sounds like you quit en masse.

We never had an employee handbook…which should have been a red flag, I admit. They kept saying they were going to put one together, but I was there a year without it happening.

Given the hostile environment, I’d go email as much as possible. And use the feature which tells you that an email has been received and opened.

I know this is kind of a jerky thing to say, but you need to put in priority order who you want made whole. Is your missing six hrs more important to you than your now-former-cow-orkers whole paycheck? If so, worry about your hours first & then help them out. If not, craft your email about all of the employees missing income.

You referenced a section that addresses whether you can expect to be paid for unused sick days, but OP was referring to six hours of sick leave that he actually used and for which he was not paid.

Good catch, thanks. The state department of labor has a mechanism for reporting unpaid wages.

Thanks for the advice so far.

As far as getting your pay within 72 hrs. Does this paragraph make it sound like it is 72 hrs straight, or 72 business hours. It doesn’t say business hours, but given the board’s lack of labor law knowledge, it would not surprise me if that is why the others haven’t receive their checks yet. Three of them left Thursday close of business. 72 hrs would have been Sunday close of business; 72 business hours is not until tomorrow.

From this website: Paydays, pay periods, and the final wages
"An employee without a written employment contract for a definite period of time who quits without giving 72 hours prior notice must be paid all of his or her wages, including accrued vacation, within 72 hours of quitting. An employee who quits without giving 72-hours prior notice may request that his or her final wage payment be mailed to a designated address. The date of mailing will be considered the date of payment for purposes of the requirement to provide payment within 72 hours of the notice of quitting. Labor Code Section 202

The place of the final wage payment for employees who are terminated (or laid off) is the place of termination. The place of final wage payment for employees who quit without giving 72 hours prior notice and who do not request that their final wages be mailed to them at a designated address, is at the office of the employer within the county in which the work was performed. Labor Code Section 208."

Fascinating. I had no idea there was a “pay within 72 hours” law anywhere; I would have assumed they could pay you on their next normal payroll run, whenever that happened to be.

Encourage your former co-workers to document any such lapses.

Don’t let them get away with shafting you on the 6 hours of sick leave - report to your state’s labor department as others have said. It may or may not get you anywhere any time soon, but the more complaints the place has against it, the better.