Late or Unpaid Wages

Late or Unpaid Wages (SB 698)

In 2019, Senate Bill 698 (Leyva) was passed to address the fact that the University of California was exempt from the labor code that requires business to pay employees correctly and on time. Prior to the bill’s passage, no method existed under state law for UC employees to file a claim against the University for late or unpaid wages. Beginning January 2020, that is no longer the case. Section 204 of the labor code now mandates timely and complete pay for workers employed by the University of California. Workers may now file complaints to hold the University accountable, and the University will owe penalties for any late or incomplete payments. You may file claims up to three, and sometimes four, years after your wages were lost. 

The easiest method to file a claim for late or unpaid wages is through the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.  The Office’s website is one of your best resources to navigate the process (including some helpful videos here). 

  1. This is a copy of the form that you fill out, and here is a sample form. 
  2. Click here for a copy of the HX (Healthcare) contract, here for the RX (Research) contract, or here for the TX (Technical) contract.
  3. You can file your claim by mail or online, and you can find contact information for regional offices here
  4. Within thirty (30) days of the filing of the complaint, the deputy shall notify the parties as to the specific action which will initially be taken regarding the claim (which, again, are further described here)
    1. referral to a conference
    2. referral to a hearing
    3. dismissal of the claim
  5. Should your claim prevail, the University will provide your missed wages. Additionally, the University shall accrue the following penalties, which they will pay back to the state, or sometimes to you:
    1. $100 for one violation 
    2. $200 + .25 times the amount of wages withheld for each violation thereafter. 

You also have the option, if you do not wish to file with the Labor Commissioner’s Office, to file a lawsuit against the University on behalf of yourself in state court. Under a statute entitled the “Private Attorney General Act,” (“PAGA”), you may be able to collect additional penalties and have the University pay your costs and attorney’s fees. You can read more about PAGA claims here and here, but we recommend that you reach out to an attorney or local legal aid organization for assistance if you are considering this type of lawsuit.