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Do California Employers Owe Last Wages to Suspended Workers?


Employees are owed their final paychecks on the date that they become no longer employed. We all know that. It's common sense. 

But what about employees who are only temporarily leaving employment? How does that work? When do you get your last pay check before you leave?

Temporary Suspension Final Pay Rules

Employees who have not officially severed ties with their employers are still protected under state and federal wage and hour laws.

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement under the California Department of Industrial Relations provides the following guidelines for these workers:

Withholding Pay During Suspension:

Employers can legally withhold an employee’s earned pay during suspension for one of two reasons:​

  1. The suspension does not result in termination
  2. If the suspension was enacted in order for the employer to legitimately investigate employee misconduct before termination. If misconduct is the reason for suspension, the employer must be able to provide evidence that a proper investigation actually took place.


Suspension Must Be Fairly Applied:

If the employer has suspended an employee for the sole purpose of avoiding the final pay requirement, the suspension can be treated as a discharge from employment and the employer can be compelled to pay waiting time penalties.


Date of Return To Work: 

If an employee is laid off without being given a specific date on which he will return to work, the employee should be paid all wages that he is owed on the day of the layoff. If the employee is scheduled to return to work within the same pay period as the date of layoff, his wages may be paid on the next regularly scheduled pay day.


Learn more about your rights as an hourly employee with our Wage and Hour Article Library.

William Turley
“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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