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Does Your Employer Have to Reimburse You for Your Cell Phone and Mileage Expenses?

Does Your Employer Have to Reimburse You for Your Cell Phone and Mileage Expenses?

There are a number of expenses that your employer may have to reimburse you for, if these items are necessary for you to perform your job

Does Your Employer Have to Reimburse You for Your Cell Phone and Mileage Expenses?

In 2019, it isn’t uncommon to use a cell phone for work, to work remotely, or to need to travel for work. A common question that arises for many employees is who is responsible for paying for these expenses — the employee or the employer. According to a California employment attorney, if an expense was necessary in order to perform the job, under California law, an employer must reimburse employees 100% for their out-of-pocket costs.

The California Labor Code provides that employers must reimburse all “necessary” expenses that employees incur in performing their jobs. This applies to both exempt and non-exempt employees. The types of expenses that must be reimbursed include:

  • Cell phones: employers must reimburse a “reasonable” amount to cover the expense of providing the phone, which includes voice and data service. Because many companies require employees to use their personal phones for work-related purposes, including taking calls, sending and receiving texts and emails, and even installing apps, these employers may be liable for a portion of their cost.
  • Home internet: if an employee has internet at home for work purposes, the cost of that service is reimbursable.
  • Vehicle: as a general rule, employers are not required to reimburse for commuting costs. However, if an employee uses a personal vehicle for work purposes during the day, the employer must reimburse him or her 100% of the costs associated with it, including cost of fuel, depreciation, maintenance, insurance and registration. This can be done using the per-mile basis rate set by the IRS.
  • Travel: if an employee travels for work, an employer must reimburse him or her for the associated costs, including airfare, hotel, food, and car rental expenses.

Unfortunately, many employers fail to reimburse employees for these costs. They may not pay employees for these expenses at all, or may inadequately compensate them for their expenses related to cell phones, internet, mileage, and travel. In these cases, a skilled California employment attorney can work with the employee to determine whether a legal claim can be filed to recover the cost of these expenses.

For example, if you are routinely required to use your phone to make work calls, and also must use your personal vehicle to travel to other offices, your employer should be paying you a reasonable amount for the use of your personal phone and for your mileage. If your employer has failed to reimburse you for the costs, a California employment attorney may advise you that you have the right to file a lawsuit against your employer. In some cases, if this is part of a larger pattern of not reimbursing employees, you may be able to file a class action lawsuit, which is a lawsuit filed by one or more individuals on behalf of a larger group of people who have all suffered the same or similar type of violation.

At PLBSH, we believe that every employee should be treated fairly and in accordance with California law. If your employer has violated your rights, we can help. Contact us today at (800) 435-7542 or to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled California employment attorneys.

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