When Must Your Employer Reimburse You For Business-Related Expenses?

Business expensesIn California, employees are entitled to be reimbursed if they incurred expense or losses on behalf of their employer or during their regular work duties. For instance, California law gives workers the right to be reimbursed for things like equipment, training, travel, uniforms, or other work materials. If you are required to spend money in order to do your job, make sure you know which expenses your employer will have to pay.

Business Travel

If an employee is required to travel on business, the employer must reimburse the employee for costs associated with meals, lodging, and other expenses. The employer could choose to reimburse the employee for his or her actual costs, or could provide the employee with a per diem allowance that can be spent on whatever the employees. The Internal Revenue Service provides a standard rate for these allowances which many employers follow. Other incidental expenses other than food and lodging must also be reimbursed by the employer.

Mileage Reimbursement

When an employee is required to use his or her personal vehicle for work-related activities, the employer must reimburse the employee for his or her costs. In California, there are three ways to do this. First, and most commonly, the employer can reimburse the employee for his or her mileage. Usually, this involves the employee keeping track of the number of miles that he or she drives and the employer providing a certain rate per mile. Currently, the IRS rate for mileage is 54 cents per mile.

When should your Employer Reimburse you for Business Related Expenses | Labor Law Office

Second, the employer could choose to reimburse the employee for his or her actual expenses. Rather than provide a base rate per mile, the employee would keep track of his or her receipts and submit them to the employer for reimbursement. Finally, the employer could reimburse the employee with a lump sum payment, also known as a car allowance.


If the employer requires employees to wear a specific type of uniform, then the employer must cover that cost. This only applies if the uniform is specialized to the business. For instance, if an employer requires an employee to wear a shirt and pants branded with the company logo, then the employer should provide those articles of clothing free of cost. However, if the employer only requires employees to wear generic clothing that can be used for other purposes, like black pants and a red polo shirt, the employees will usually have to pay for these items themselves.

Training and Equipment

Employers must provide employees with the tools and equipment they need to perform a specific job. However, in some industries like construction, the law allows employers to require employees to provide their own hand tools so long as the employee earns at least twice the minimum wage.

Similarly, the employer must pay for any required training that the employee must attend in order to perform the job. This does not mean that the employer must pay for an employee’s schooling or higher education. Instead, if the employees are required to attend mandatory training classes outside of his or her previous education then the employer must cover these costs. Some of the liabilities from having extant legal issues with potential financial repercussions include difficulties selling such a business, be sure to consult with an experienced business broker if you are considering selling and are concerned about risks your company may be vulnerable to.

When an employer refuses to reimburse an employee for costs expended on work-related activities, the employer can be held responsible for all of the employee’s out-of-pocket costs as well as interest and legal fees. If your employer is refusing to cover your expenses, contact with an experienced California labor law attorney today.

Published By:

Labor Law Office, APC

2740 Fulton Avenue, Suite 220
Sacramento, CA 95821

Office: (916) 446-4502
Email: [email protected]

2017-12-13T21:46:29+00:00 August 26th, 2016|General Labor Law, Wage and Hour|

Leave A Comment