Under California Labor Code section 203, an employer must pay a waiting time penalty on wages owed when the employer willfully fails to pay wages due under section 201 ore 202. A waiting time penalty is equal to one day’s pay fore each day that a full payment of final wages is late, up to a maximum of 30 days. So, if for instance you are terminated from a full-time job that pays $160/day (or $20/hour), and your final wages are due immediately at termination, but your employer only issues you your final paycheck 10 days later, you are due additional $1,600 in penalties.
As noted above, the penalties only run up to 30 days, so if in the above example you had to wait for your final paycheck for two, three or more months, the maximum penalty that can be imposed under section 203 is $4,800 ($160 x 30).
If an employer leaves the employee’s final check in the employer’s office and asks the employee to pick it up in person shortly after the employment separation, the employe cannot “create” waiting time penalties by not picking that check up on purpose and just sitting and waiting for the extra days to accrue in order to demand waiting time penalties later.