I don't think I can even file for unemployment or can I? I'm continuing to work and attend meetings. It seems like a bad idea for me to be actively checking code into their source control system if I'm not getting paid. It's a startup seeking additional venture capital. I also haven't been reimbursed for flying to their headquarters to work for a few days.

CA unemployment says I'm performing work for someone so ineligible. I'm applying elsewhere, but I have to pay rent and other bills long before I can get a check from someone else. If I quit and start work full time, I think I become ineligible.

  • 3
    Check your contract, was there any agreement even informal that you may have to wait on funds? If not then they have to pay you.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 21:37
  • 1
    @Killsi The employment agreement says nothing about delays in payment. Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 21:38
  • 1
    Go get your money then
    – Kilisi
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 21:44
  • 6
    @Killsi I don't think it's that easy. Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 21:47
  • It never is, but you need to be direct as in Joes answer, and proactive if the response isn't acceptable.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 21:49

3 Answers 3


My employer is postponing my FIRST paycheck due to a funding shortfall; what can I do?

Postpone any work for this company until they have paid you for your work and have been reimbursed for your business travel. If you have not been paid within a week, report them to your state's Attorney General. Finally, start looking for a new company to work for. If I were you, I would avoid startups as they are usually not very stable with regards to financials and a normal working environment.

  • 1
    Your state's Department of Labor would also be a good place to contact if you have not been paid for work performed.
    – saritonin
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 20:25
  • 2
    "If I were you, I would avoid startups" I think this is going a smidge too far. Startups can be great but you should know what you are getting into.
    – user111472
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 9:14

I don't think I can even file for unemployment or can I?

You cannot file for or collect unemployment while you are employed.

And in general, you cannot collect unemployment benefits if you quit. But check with your state's unemployment office to see if you can collect unemployment benefits if you quit in your specific circumstances. Do this before you decide to quit. Only your state's office can actually determine your eligibility.

You can ask your employer when you can expect to get paid.

If you don't get a good answer, you can call your local Department of Labor and State Attorney General's office.

Meanwhile, you can try hard to get your next job with a company who can actually pay their employees.

  • 10
    If they have already missed a pay date, and they have failed to reimburse him as promised for his air travel, and it sounds as though they have, OP should talk to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency as soon as he/she possibly can, if only to get their advice and give them a heads-up that he may be needing their help in the very near future. State employment commissions in the US have a LOT of power to pull employers into line, and they are in general not the slightest bit shy or hesitant about wielding that power, when they deem it appropriate. Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 22:29
  • If they are not paying the OP then they are not employed that's basic frustration of contract law 101 Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 22:57
  • I would have thought that contract law is the same in the USA as the UK, I suspect the OP gave the SS office grounds for refusing - the OP still thinks they are employed and said as much Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 20:23
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    It's worth pointing out that if you quit your job because you haven't been paid you can collect unemployment benefit in every jurisdiction I've encountered. Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 20:02
  • 2
    I can confirm what @DJClayworth said, usually this comes down to "constructive dismissal". Not being paid is a very clear and strong reason for constructive dismissal.
    – user21030
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 12:22

No, the accepted answer is not really correct.

It's not the State Attorney General. It will be quicker if you file directly with the Labor Commissioner's Office of California.

File a claim for unpaid wages with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileWageClaim.htm

The advice to stop work is good also.

Also, if they're not paying you and you quit because of that, it's not really quitting, it's them breaching your employment contract. So check on your unemployment eligibility.

But like you said, if you're able to find another full time job right away, unemployment won't kick in. From what I remember, it takes at least one week to start from the time you've stopped working, plus one additional week for you to receive your first paycheck.

  • @JoeStrazzere, That's why I said "from the time you've stopped working". Before the time he stopped working, that's the responsibility of the Labor Department/Agency and the Labor Commissioner’s Office may even advance him the wages he's owed if the company doesn't come through (but I do not know if they'll reimburse him his traveling expenses). Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 21:16
  • Also, "advance" is the wrong word, because even if they can't recover the money from the original company, the Labor agency will take the hit financially, because by law, the agency is ultimately liable for stolen wages if the original employer can't pay. Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 21:26
  • @JoeStrazzere interesting comments but what where the questions?
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 7:37
  • The point about reporting the non-payment is spot on. However, "revoke them access to any resources that are still under your ownership" could be dangerous advice. Absolutely do not hold anything ransom that belongs to your employer, such as code you wrote for them but stored in a private repository - that is legally theirs, even if they did not pay you for it, and keeping it could land you in hot water.Just report them and go job hunting.
    – sleske
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 7:21
  • @sleske, Point taken. Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 7:51

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