California Deductions from Pay: What you need to know

Generally, under California law, an employer may withhold money from an employee’s wages only when authorized:
• By state or federal law (CA Lab. Code Sec. 224).
• In writing by the employee, and for insurance premiums, hospital or medical payments, or other withholdings that do not amount to rebates from any standard wage arrived at through collective bargaining (CA Lab. Code Sec. 224).
• Expressly by wage agreements or collective bargaining contracts for the purposes of health and welfare or pension plan contributions (CA Lab. Code Sec. 224).
• By court order for the payment of child support, alimony, or other debts. For more information, see the
• By a wage assignment evidenced by a separate, notarized document signed by the employee and specifically identifying the transaction to which it relates. If the employee is married or a minor, the assignment must be accompanied by the signed consent of the employee’s spouse or parent. An assignment is limited to 50 percent of the employee’s salary and is revocable at any time (CA Lab. Code Sec. 300).
• By the employee for deposit in a bank, savings and loan association, or credit union of the employee’s choice.
Administrative fee for support payments. Employers may charge an employee $1.50 for each support payment (CA Fam. Code Sec. 5235).
Lateness. An employer may deduct from an employee’s wages only an amount proportionate to that which would have been earned during the time lost, except that a deduction of 30 minutes' wages is allowed for tardiness of less than 30 minutes. If such a deduction is made, the employee may not work during that 30-minute period (CA Lab. Code Sec. 2928).
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Except as provided above, employers ...

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