California Business Portal

What does California consider as wages?

Wages are all compensation for an employee’s personal services, whether paid by check or cash, or the reasonable cash value of noncash payments such as meals and lodging. Payments are considered wages even if the employee is a casual worker, a day or contract laborer, part-time or temporary worker, or paid by the day, hour, or any other method or measurement. 

Wages include, but are not limited to: 

  • Salaries, hourly pay, piece rate, or payments by the job 

  • Commissions and bonuses 

  • Overtime and vacation pay 

  • The reasonable cash value of compensation other than cash 

Wages are subject to all employment (payroll) taxes and reportable as PIT wages unless otherwise stated. For more information, refer to Information Sheet: Wages (DE 231A) (PDF). See Required Filings and Due Dates on how to report and pay payroll taxes. 

The method of payment, whether by private agreement, consent, or mandate, does not change the taxability of wages paid to employees. 

Important: If you pay your employee’s share of Social Security, Medicare, and/or State Disability Insurance (SDI) without deducting the amounts from their wages, these payments may also be wages. For more information, refer to Information Sheet: Social Security/Medicare/SDI Taxes Paid by an Employer (DE 231Q) (PDF).  
For more information, call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at 1-888-745-3886. 

Did you find this article helpful?

Haven't found what you're looking for, send us an email