Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA)

The Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) authorizes aggrieved employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations.

Those who intend to pursue PAGA cases must follow the requirements specified in Labor Code Sections 2698 - 2699.5.

SB 836, which became effective on June 27, 2016, made important changes in PAGA requirements.  Except as otherwise noted, these requirements apply prospectively to all pending PAGA cases as well as new filings.

  • All new PAGA claim notices must be filed online, with a copy sent by certified mail to the employer.
  • All employer cure notices or other responses to a PAGA claim must be filed online, with a copy sent by certified mail to the aggrieved employee or aggrieved employee's representative.
  • A filing fee of $75 is required for a new PAGA claim notice and any initial employer response [cure or other response] to a new PAGA claim notice.
  • The filing fee may be waived if the party on whose behalf the notice or response is filed is entitled to in forma pauperis status.
  • The time for the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) to review a notice under Labor Code § 2699.3(a) has been extended from 30 to 60 days.
  • When filing a new PAGA lawsuit in court, a filed-stamped copy of the complaint must be provided to LWDA. (Applies only to cases in which the initial PAGA claim notice was filed on or after July 1, 2016.)
  • Any settlement of a PAGA action must be approved by the court, whether or not the settlement includes an award of PAGA penalties.
  • A copy of a proposed settlement must be provided to LWDA at the same time that it is submitted to the court.
  • A copy of the court's judgment and any other order that awards or denies PAGA penalties must be provided to LWDA.
  • All items that are required to be provided to the LWDA must be submitted online. All PAGA related notices and documents are no longer required to be submitted to LWDA by certified mail.

Online Filing Site (for all PAGA Notices, Responses, Court Complaints, Settlements, and Orders)

PAGA Online Filing Site

Filing fees

Filing fees apply to any new notices and initial employer responses submitted after June 27, 2016, but are not required for items submitted prior to that date.  Pending the development of an online payment system, filing fees should be paid by check, made out to LWDA, and sent by regular mail to the address indicated below.  The check should be accompanied by a cover letter or other memo with sufficient information to identify the notice or response to which it applies.

Department of Industrial Relations 
Accounting Unit 
455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th Floor 
San Francisco, CA 94102

Note: Parties claiming in forma pauperis status should fill out a Confidential Request to Waive Court Fees (Judicial Council Court Form FW-001) or similar form and submit it online with the notice or response to which it applies.

PAGA penalty payments

Penalty payments should be made to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and sent by mail to the address indicated below.  Penalty payments should be accompanied by a copy of the order or judgment awarding the penalties or other documentation identifying the court case and parties to which the payment applies.

Department of Industrial Relations 
Accounting Unit 
455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th Floor 
San Francisco, CA 94102

PAGA Procedures, Deadlines, and Other Information

Please consult Labor Code Sections 2698 - 2699.5 to determine the applicable requirements and deadlines.

Please also make note of the following information.

  • The PAGA statute provides LWDA with limited time frames within which to review a notice or investigate and cite an employer for alleged violations before an aggrieved employee may file suit. Although the statute directs LWDA to send a notice when it decides not to investigate a notice or issue a citation, the statute also authorizes the aggrieved employee to file suit if the LWDA sends no notification within specified time limits.  Ordinarily you will not hear anything from LWDA about your PAGA claim unless a determination is made to investigate a notice or otherwise become involved in the case.
  • The PAGA statute does not require parties to prove affirmatively that documents were received by LWDA. The statute only requires proof that items were mailed or submitted in the required manner.  Confirmation that LWDA received previously-submitted items need not and should not be requested unless it becomes a contested issue in the case.
  • PAGA notices received by LWDA are public records and subject to disclosure to any member of the public, with the exception of specific items (such as fee waiver requests) that the law requires to be kept confidential.  Past records are also subject to being destroyed, in accordance with agency policies, after the passage of time or when no longer relevant to a pending matter.

 

Additional questions about PAGA may be sent to PAGAinfo@dir.ca.gov