Expense Reimbursement in California
As a California employee, you have an explicit right to be reimbursed for any expenses or losses incurred as a direct result of your employment. And while you would expect that expense reimbursements would be straightforward, they are often a really sticky topic for California employees.
If your employer has denied you reimbursement for any work related expenses including those listed below, you may be entitled to reimbursement:
If you are using your personal vehicle for work purposes (beyond getting to and from work) your employer is required by law to reimburse you for those expenses. Employers can pay you for vehicle expenses in three ways:
- They can pay for the actual expenses associated with using your car for work purposes,
- They can reimburse you based on the number of miles you drive for your employer, or
- They can pay you a flat fee to cover the expenses associated with using your vehicle for work.
It is also important to remember that your employer is required to pay you for the time you spend driving for work. This travel time must be properly compensated for outside of your mileage reimbursement.
If your employer has not reimbursed you for using your personal vehicle for work purposes, or for the time you spend driving, you may be entitled to reimbursement and compensation!
Cell Phone & Mobile Data
When employees must use their personal cell phones for business-related calls, employers must reimburse them.
The California Court of Appeals made this clear in a 2014 decision, “We hold that when employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them. Whether the employees have cell phone plans with unlimited minutes or limited minutes, the reimbursement owed is a reasonable percentage of their cell phone bills.”
Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Services, Inc. (2014) 228 Cal. App. 4th 1137, 1140.
If you work from home, your employer is required to reimburse you for a number of expenses related to your home office. The rules vary based on a number of factors but your employer may be required to reimburse you for things like:
- Your cell phone
- Internet charges
- Office supplies (paper, toner, etc.)
If you work from home and your employer does not reimburse you for these sorts of expenses, you may be entitled to reimbursement.
Tools, Equipment & Materials
Typically, your employer is required to provide you with all of the tools necessary to complete your work. However, in California, if you make more than twice the minimum wage your employer may require you to supply your own tools. Failing to supply tools for you if you make less than twice the minimum wage is illegal and may entitle you to compensation under the law.
Your employer is required by law to reimburse you for any employment-related travel expenses including transportation, meals, and lodging. Your employer may choose to cover meals and lodging on a per diem rate (as established by the IRS) or as direct reimbursement.
If your employer is not properly reimbursing you for travel expenses, you may be entitled to take legal action against your employer.
If your employer requires you to wear a uniform, your employer is required to pay for the uniforms and must also pay for any of the costs associated with maintaining and cleaning that uniform.
If your employer doesn’t reimburse you for the work-related expenses you have incurred, including the expenses mentioned above, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Dychter Law Offices today to discuss your rights and get the reimbursement you are owed!