My employer isn’t paying my wages. What can I do?

Last reviewed June 2024 by the Clicklaw editors

BC law says that employers must pay an employee’s wages at least twice a month. Pay periods cannot be longer than 16 days. All money earned, including overtime and statutory holiday pay, must be paid within eight days after the end of the pay period. Annual vacation pay and wages in an employee’s time bank don’t need to be paid within the pay period.

In BC, wages must be paid in Canadian currency. Payment can be cash, cheque, bank draft, or money order. It can also be made by direct deposit to an employee’s bank account if this is agreed to in writing or if this arrangement is part of a collective agreement. Farm labour contractors must pay wages directly to an employee’s bank account.

If your employer isn’t paying your wages, you have rights. If you can’t resolve the issue with your employer informally, you can make a complaint here. Your employer isn’t allowed to intimidate or discriminate against you for submitting your complaint. The complaint process can take several months and may require an investigation.

Helpful information

  • Getting Paid for Work (Government of BC): This page explains the rights employees have about getting paid for their work.
  • Make a Complaint (Government of BC): This page outlines the process for filing a complaint under the BC Employment Standards Act.
  • LSLAP Manual: Employment Law (PDF) (Law Students’ Legal Advice Program): This chapter has more detailed information about what you can do. Look under the section “Remedies.”

Helpful services

  • Summary Advice Program (Access Pro Bono): This service offers free legal advice to low- and modest-income individuals by telephone or videoconference. Book an appointment with a volunteer lawyer by filling out the online form or calling the client line.
  • Lawyer Referral Service (Access Pro Bono): This service offers a free, brief initial consultation with a lawyer to determine your legal needs. If you would like further help from your lawyer, you can retain them at a rate you both agree to.
  • Find more services.