Can My Employer Make Deductions from My Wages in California?

by | Jun 1, 2020 | Wage & Hour

Anyone working for a living knows how important it is that you get paid in full for the job you perform. However, it’s not unusual to see your paycheck and realize the total is less than you earned at your agreed-on wage rate. How does this happen? Well, in some cases employers are permitted to take deductions or withhold wages from your paycheck – but in many more cases California employers are not allowed to do this. Here are the current California laws that may affect how much you take home at the end of the pay period.

Permissible Withholding and Deductions

In limited circumstances, employers may withhold wages or deduct from your earned pay – usually to comply with other laws or as a result of your consent. The conduct is permitted:

  • When required or authorized by either state or federal law
  • If you provided written consent for your employer to deduct wages for insurance premiums or contributions to a benefit plan
  • To cover welfare, health, or pension contributions when they are expressly permitted to do so under a wage or collective bargaining agreement

Illegal Deductions

In far more cases, however, employers are not allowed to deduct from your paycheck and may be subject to penalties and fines in addition to the wages owed to you. It’s illegal under California law for your employer to deduct any of the following from your wages:

  • Any of your gratuities
  • The cost of any bond if one is required
  • Photography costs, if required
  • Uniform costs unless you agreed in writing to have the cost deducted from your final paycheck if it is not returned to your employer. Uniforms include apparel or accessories of a distinct color and/or design
  • Expenses or losses as a direct consequence of you performing your work duties
  • Any medical or physical examination required by law or ordinance, or as a condition of employment
  • Tool or equipment costs unless you make two or more times the minimum wage and the tools or equipment are customarily required in your industry

Get Help from a California Employment Lawyer

Though most employers pay workers fully, fairly, and promptly, it’s important you know your rights to protect yourself from accidental or intentional problems with your paycheck. If you have questions about your wages or have been improperly denied full compensation, turn to the experienced California employment lawyers at Rothschild & Alwill, APC today for help.