You hope it never happens to you: you get your paycheck from your employer, deposit it, and it bounces! What do you do?
California law has a couple different solutions to this problem. The California Labor Code says that if you deposit your paycheck and it bounces, your wages continue as a penalty until your employer makes good on the check. The penalties can add up for as much as 30 days. The penalties add up even if you are still working for the company. However, if you and your attorney ask for this kind of penalty, your employer would not have to pay any bounced check fee your bank made you pay.
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You can also treat the bounced paycheck like any other bounced check and use California’s bounced-check law, which would require your employer to reimburse you for any bounced-check fee your bank charged you. The employer might also have to pay up to $1500 in penalties. This option does not give you penalties for every day the check is late, however.
Which option makes the most sense can depend on how many days of penalties add up while you are waiting for a replacement check as well as why the check bounced – for instance, if it was a bank error and nothing the company did, the company will not have to pay penalties.
Whatever the case, make sure to take care of your own finances. If one of your own checks bounces while you are waiting for your paycheck, you can’t ask the company to pay that fee or any late penalties you may get because you were late paying a bill. California law tells employers they need to be financially responsible so your paycheck does not bounce, but it also expects you to do the same.
Have questions about filing a legal claim? View our employment claim FAQs.