California employers are required to establish regular paydays so that workers know when and where they can expect to be paid for work completed. Wages earned during the beginning of the month, from the 1st to the 15th, must be paid by the 26th of the same month; wages earned from the 16th through the end of the month must be paid by the 10th of the following month. If wages are earned over a different period of time, they must be paid within seven days.
Specific payment rules exist for employees who leave their position or are laid off from a current employer. An employee who is discharged, terminated or fired must be paid all wages that he or she has earned plus the monetary value of any accrued vacation time immediately. An employee who does not receive a final paycheck immediately may have a wage and hour claim against the former employer for failing to pay what is owed.
There are exceptions to the immediate payment rule. Employers of certain seasonal workers have up to 72 hours to pay final wages. An employee who quits his or her job may also have to wait up to 72 hours to receive a final paycheck. Separate rules exist for employees in the oil drilling industry as well as involved in motion picture production.
For employers who do not comply with the payment of final wages rules, a waiting time penalty may be assessed. A waiting time penalty can total up to an additional 30 days of payment at an employee's former rate, depending on the length of time it took the employer to make the final payment.
Source: CA.gov, "Paydays, pay periods, and the final wages"