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How do I get my pay records in California?

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Do I have a right obtain may pay records and time punch records in California?

Yes. Under California law you have a right to obtain your wage records and work time records from your employer, or your former employer. California Labor Code Section 226(b) and (c) and California Wage Orders, Section 7.
 

In this article, I address the following issues and answer these questions and more regarding your right to get your pay records under California law:

Why is it important for employers to have to provide wage records?
 
What evidence do I need in order to win my unpaid wages claim in California?
 
What are my rights to get my pay records in California?
 
Pay Statement Requirements Labor Code Section 226
 
Do I have the right to receive my timekeeping records (times that I punched in and out of work) under California law?
 
What are the three main sources of California wage and hour laws?
 
Are employers required to keep accurate timekeeping records under California law?  
 
Do the California Wage Orders require employers to keep accurate timekeeping records?     
 
Does the employer/ the company have a duty to maintain my wage records in California?
 
Are employers in California required to provide me with my timekeeping records?
 
How much time does my employer have to provide me with my wage records?
 
Is there a penalty under California law if my employer doesn’t provide me with my wage records?
 
How do I request my wage/ pay records?
 
Sample request for wage records/ pay records

What happens if I can prove that the employer’s timekeeping records are not accurate?
 

What makes it all worth it - getting a check for your unpaid wages!

 
How do I get my wage records in California?

Why is it important for employers to have to provide wage records?

In order to win a wage case, you have to prove that you haven’t been paid the wages that you are owed under California law.  The wage records that your employer/ former employer are required to keep under California law are what you’re going to use in order to win your unpaid wages case.
 

What evidence do I need in order to win my unpaid wages claim in California?

There are two things that you are going to have to prove in order to be successful in your California unpaid wages claim.
 
First, is what your employer (or former employer) actually paid you. This is where California Labor Code Section 226 comes in. Under California law, your employer has a duty to keep records about how you were paid.
 
Second, you are going to need to prove what your employer should have paid you.
 
In this article I explain that the law helps you in this regard. Because your employer has a duty to keep records of your time worked, for instance. If your employer doesn’t keep accurate records, then the law allows your testimony (and your co-workers) to establish what time you should have been paid fo. The law then places the burden on your employer to disprove what you are saying. I explain this in more depth in this article.
 

What are my rights to get my pay records in California?

Under California law, you are entitled to receive your pay records/ wage records from your employer. California Labor Code Section 226(b) and (c). 
 
You are entitled to receive all of the records that are listed under California Labor Code Section 226(a).
 
You are also entitled to receive your timekeeping records. That is, the records which indicate the exact hours or time that you work each shift.  California Labor Code Section 226(b); California Wage Orders Section 7.
 

Pay Statement Requirements Labor Code Section 226

Under California law, itemized pay statements must include:
 
 1.  The employer’s name and address;
 2. The employee’s name and only the last four digits of her social security number;
 3. The inclusive dates for which the employee is being paid;
 4 The gross wages earned;
 5. The net wages earned;
 6. The total hours worked for nonexempt employees;
 7. For employees paid on a piece-rate basis, the applicable piece rate and units earned;
 8. All applicable hourly rates; and
 9. All deductions.
California Labor Code Section 226(a)
 

Do I have the right to receive my timekeeping records (times that I punched in and out of work) under California law?

Yes.
 
Under California Labor Code Section 226(b), “...current and former employees [have] the right to inspect or receive a copy of records pertaining to their employment...” Timekeeping records certainly fall under “records relating to [your] employment.
 
This is why when you request your wage records under California Labor Code Section 226 and your personnel file under California Labor Code Section 1198.5, you should always state that you are also requesting your timekeeping records.
 
Most employers will include your timekeeping records when they produce your wage records and personnel records, if you request your timekeeping records.
 
Second, if you bring a wage claim lawsuit, class action lawsuit and/or a PAGA claim, you are certainly entitled to your timekeeping records.
 
Third, the California Wage Orders, Section 7 require your employer to keep and provide timekeeping records.


What are the three main sources of California wage and hour laws?

 
here are three main sources of law in California in regards to wage and hour case. That is, you getting your unpaid wages back. The first is the California Labor Code.
 
The second are California Wage Orders.  
 
Third, the California courts interpret these laws.
 
 

Bill Turley - California's Leading Unpaid Wages Class Action Lawyer is asked to testify before the California Legislature on wage law

 
How do I get my pay records in California?
 

Are employers required to keep accurate timekeeping records under California law?      

Yes.
 
The California Wage Orders require employers to keep accurate timekeeping records. Stated differently, your employer/ the company has a legal duty under California law to maintain records of when (read: what hours) you actually work.
 
An employer that is required by this code or any regulation adopted pursuant to this code to keep the information required by subdivision (a) shall afford current and former employees the right to inspect or receive a copy of records pertaining to their employment upon reasonable request to the employer.
California Labor Code Section 226 (Emphasis added).
 
Timekeeping records are certainly records “pertaining to their employment.”  This is stated in the term “shall.”  "Shall" creates a duty.

 

Do the California Wage Orders require employers to keep accurate timekeeping records?        

Yes.
 
Employers have a duty to provide wage records and/or timekeeping records pursuant to the California Wage Orders. The employer has to keep accurate records of when you start your shift, when you clock in and out for lunch and when you end your work shift.
 
Each industry in California has a Wage Order that employers/ companies have to follow. Each of the California Wage Orders require employers to keep accurate timekeeping records.
 
For example, all of the wage order require employers to keep the following:
 
Time records showing when the employee begins and ends each work period. Meal periods, split shift intervals and total daily hours worked shall also be recorded. Meal periods during which operations cease and authorized rest periods need not be recorded. California Wage Order 9 Section 7A.(3).  
 

Does the employer/ the company have a duty to maintain my wage records in California?

Yes.
 
California employers have a duty to maintain your wage records for at least three years.
 
The Wage Order states:
 
 All required records shall be in the English language and in ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing month, day and year, and shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California. California Wage Order 9 Section 7C. (Emphasis added).
 
Happiness is getting my unpaid wages settlement check!
 
Getting my unpaid wages check - after I got my wage records
 

Need help right now? 

 
Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text.

Or leave us a message on this webpage
 

Are employers in California required to provide me with my timekeeping records?

Yes.
 
The California Wage Orders require employers to provide employees their timekeeping records “upon reasonable request.”
 
The Wage Order go on to state:
 
 An employee’s records shall be available for inspection by the employee upon reasonable request. California Wage Order 9 Section 7C. (Emphasis added).


How much time does my employer have to provide me with my wage records?

Employers have 21 days in order to provide you with your wages records. California Labor Code Section 226(c).

 
Is there a penalty under California law if my employer doesn’t provide me with my wage records?

Yes.
 
You are entitled to a penalty of $750 if your employer doesn’t provide you with a copy or allow you to inspect your wage records within 21 days of your request. California Labor Code Section 226(f).


How do I request my wage/ pay records?

 
Under California law you can request your wage records orally (read: asking your supervisor for them) or in writing. I suggest that you requests your wage records in writing so you have proof that you actually requested your employer to provide your wage records.
 
An email with do. I suggest that you copy yourself on your email. I also suggest that, if possible, you also send a copy of your request to your company’s HR department and an officer and/or owner of the company.
 
I also suggest that when you request your wage records you include a request for personnel files pursuant to California Labor Sections 1198.5 and 432.
 
I strongly suggest that if you believe that you have not been paid all of the wages that you are owed, then you consult with an honest, California wage lawyer.  The lawyer that you hire, should be requesting these records for you.
 
However, I realize that some of you may not be able to find a lawyer that will agree to take your case.
 

Sample request for wage records/ pay records

Here is a sample pay records request. You can just cut and paste it into your email. Make sure you put your name in the "your name here" section, the employer name in the "employer name here" section and your name and address in the "your name and address here" section. 

 

To Whom It May Concern:
 
Pursuant to California Labor Code Sections 1198.5, 432, 226(c), and 226(f) and California Wage Orders Section 7, I, JOHN DOE[your name here], hereby request to inspect and receive a copy of my employment records, personnel records, time records, wage records and signed employment documents from BIG CORPORATION, INC.[employer name here]
 
I hereby request that all of my employment, wage, paychecks, paycheck stubs, time records and personnel files be sent to Mara Law Firm no later than thirty (30) days from the receipt of this request pursuant to California Labor Code sections 1198.5(b)(1), 432, 226(c), and 226(f) and California Wage Orders Section 7
 
I hereby request that my entire employment and personnel files, all employment related documents signed by me, performance reviews, termination records, including but not limited to my wage records, time records, time punch records, paycheck stubs – including clock-in and clock-out times at the beginning and end of each workday and clock-in and clock-out times for meal periods during the workday, be sent to the following address:
 
John Doe [your name and address here]
123 Main Street
Coolville, CA 99999
 
Dated:                                                                                                       ________________
                                                                                                                       John Doe

 

 
 
Again, I suggest that you consult with an unpaid wages lawyer before you send this request. 
 
Also, this is based upon California law. So, if you're not in California, this is not a good sample for you to use. 
 

What happens if I can prove that the employer’s timekeeping records are not accurate?

Under California law, once you show that the employers’ timekeeping records are inaccurate then you have proven that you are owed wages.  Furry v. East Bay Publishing, LLC, 30 Cal. App. 5th 1072, 1080-1081 (2018).
 
The California Wage Orders - Section 7 - require employers to keep accurate timekeeping records. Thus, you have proven that the employer breached their duty to keep accurate timekeeping records.  Furry v. East Bay Publishing, LLC, 30 Cal. App. 5th 1072, 1080-1081 (2018).
 
Under California law, where the employer has failed to keep records required by statute, the consequences for such failure should fall on the employer, not you - the employee. In such a situation, imprecise evidence by the employee can provide a sufficient basis for damages. Hernandez v. Mendoza, 199 Cal. App. 3d 721, 727 (1988); Furry v. East Bay Publishing, LLC, 30 Cal. App. 5th 1072, 1080-1081 (2018).
 
Basically, your testimony that you worked when your time wasn’t being kept by your employer can be enough evidence. 
 
For example, if you have to wait in a security line before you clock in or after you clock out for 5 minutes- on average a day each way, your testimony and/or your co-employees testimony is enough.
 
Or if you have a duty to answer your phone during lunch, this enough to prove that you were subject to the duty and thus should have been paid for the half hour that was deducted from your pay during your meal break.
 
 

Need help right now? 

 
Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text.

Or leave us a message on this webpage
 
 

This article isn't legal advice

 
These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, photos and/or discussions do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, or your particular case/ situation. Every case is different. There are any number of reasons why class actions are not certified, not won and/or PAGA actions are not successful.

Just because we have gotten great results in so many other unpaid wage cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Including, your wage case. Every case is different.

 

William Turley
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“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
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