How long legally can a company hold out on paying an invoice before action being taken?

UPDATED: Aug 7, 2012

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How long legally can a company hold out on paying an invoice before action being taken?

I worked for a company 5 weeks ago and was given spoken incentives to make it sound like I was going to be paid promptly, probably in order so that I would work insane hours. I submitted the invoice promptly. Every time I’ve asked questions on pay turn around I’m given very vague answers. How long legally can they hold out on paying me? I’ve never had a company I’ve freelanced for before take longer than 4 weeks to pay me so this is new territory for me. I need that money but I don’t want to take them to small claims court prematurely.

Asked on August 7, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


Ganette Genetti / Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Whatever oral representation they made to you about when you would be paid is the date payment was due.  If it's been longer than 30 days, then you should consider small claims court, however, you should send them a demand letter requesting payment before filing suit.  Next time you freelance, you should have a written contract outlining how many days from when the invoice is submitted to when tender of payment is due.  The invoice, likewise, should also have the same payment due date. 

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