COVID-19: Employee Benefits and Final Paychecks

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis has greatly impacted employers and employees, especially those who own or work for non-essential businesses. Many who work for these companies are currently operating remotely or, in some cases, not operating at all. This dramatic change in the way businesses operate raises many questions regarding the benefits of employees, as employers are reducing hours and downsizing their staff.

What are my benefits as an employee?

You most likely went over your benefits with someone from Human Resources when you first started your job. Your benefits as an employee can include vacation pay, sick pay, medical, dental, vision, retirement accounts, and relocation expenses. If you work for a private company, many benefits are contractual, so they can be negotiable between an employer and their employees. This is excluding any benefits, such as sick time pay, that are required by the local, state, or federal law. 

 

California is known as an “at-will” state. It means that an employer can legally fire you at any given time for any reason, as long as the reason is not illegal. This concept applies to your benefits, as well. Typically, benefits follow a “use it or lose it” policy. So if you were recently terminated due to the coronavirus pandemic, you will not receive any compensation for the unused benefits. Sick time pay generally falls under this category. On the other hand, some forms of vacation pay are eligible for compensation after termination in California. To see if your accrued vacation time hours or other specific benefits apply, contact a professional. 

What happens to my final paycheck if I’m terminated? 

According to the laws in California, your final paycheck for all remaining hours worked is due immediately upon discharge if you are terminated. If your paycheck was deficient, late, or you never received your paycheck, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options. If your employer chooses not to pay you for the wages you are owed, you may be entitled to extra compensation; your former employer can be penalized and may owe you up to 30 days of pay on top of the final paycheck you deserve. 

 

If you have been recently terminated by your employer during this time of uncertainty, they are required to pay you the money you earned up to the final moment of employment. Still owed a final paycheck? Carter Law Firm can help. We fight to get the compensation you deserve. We will review your potential claim free of charge. Contact us by filling out the confidential form below.

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