Wait times: How long does it take to get back stolen wages in California?

The state violates its own deadlines with wage theft cases.

By law the individual wage claims workers file with the Labor Commissioner’s Office are supposed to reach a hearing in 120 days. Then the office gets 15 days to decide whether or not the worker is owed money and how much.

That can become a court judgment allowing the worker to claim the money. 

While the vast majority of cases settle before the hearing, other workers have faced long delays just to get a hearing before the Labor Commissioner’s Office. The average case filed last year that actually got a decision took double the time allowed by law. Thousands of cases filed in 2021 remain pending.

This chart measures the time between a worker filing a claim and the Labor Commissioner’s Office decision. CalMatters obtained data on these claims through a public records request.