What Must My Employer Reimburse Me For in California?

a woman using a calculator

As an employee in California, understanding your rights to reimbursement is crucial to ensure you are fairly compensated for work-related expenses. This guide will provide an overview of the key reimbursement rights under California employment law, as well as tips on how to protect yourself and ensure you receive the reimbursements you are entitled to.

1. California Labor Code Section 2802

California Labor Code Section 2802 is the primary law governing employee reimbursement in the state. Under this law, employers are required to indemnify their employees for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred as a direct consequence of the discharge of their duties. This includes expenses such as work-related travel, tools and equipment, uniforms, and cell phone usage, among others.

2. Mileage Reimbursement

Employees who use their personal vehicles for work-related purposes are entitled to reimbursement for their mileage expenses. Employers can choose to either reimburse employees at the actual expense rate or use the IRS standard mileage rate, which is updated annually. It is important to note that commuting to and from work is not considered a reimbursable expense under California law.

3. Work-Related Cell Phone Usage

Employers in California are required to reimburse employees for work-related cell phone usage, even if the employee has an unlimited plan and does not incur additional charges. The amount of reimbursement should be a reasonable percentage of the employee's total cell phone bill. To avoid potential disputes, employers should establish a clear policy regarding cell phone usage and reimbursement.

4. Uniforms and Work-Related Attire

If an employer requires employees to wear a uniform or specific work-related attire, the employer is responsible for providing and maintaining the uniform at no cost to the employee. Additionally, if an employee is required to purchase their own uniform, the employer must reimburse the employee for the cost.

5. Tools and Equipment

California law requires employers to provide and maintain any tools and equipment necessary for employees to perform their job duties. If an employee is required to purchase their own tools or equipment, the employer must reimburse the employee for the cost.

Protecting Your Reimbursement Rights

Here are some tips to ensure you receive the reimbursements you are entitled to:

  • Keep accurate records of all work-related expenses, including receipts and mileage logs.
  • Submit reimbursement requests in a timely manner, as outlined in your employer's reimbursement policy.
  • Communicate with your employer if you are unsure about whether an expense is reimbursable.
  • Consult with an experienced employment attorney if you believe your employer is not properly reimbursing you for work-related expenses.

At Polaris Law Group, we understand the importance of ensuring that employees are fairly compensated for their work-related expenses. Our knowledgeable team of employment law attorneys is dedicated to helping employees in California understand their reimbursement rights. If you have questions or concerns about your reimbursement rights, contact us today for a consultation. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of California employment law and ensure that you receive the reimbursements you deserve.

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