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Ask an Employment Lawyer: What Does the Law Say About Required Expense Reimbursements from Your Employer?

In 2022, using a cell phone for business, working from home, or having to travel for work are all commonplace. Who is responsible for covering these costs—the employee or the employer—is a frequent concern for many employees. According to a California employment lawyer, if an expense was required to carry out work, California law requires employers to compensate employees for all out-of-pocket expenses in full.

Keep reading to learn more about what is required and what to do if your employer is not following the rules. Remember you can contact PLBH at (800) 435-7542 for a legal consultation if you believe you have a case.

What are employers required to cover?

According to the California Labor Code, employers are required to cover any “necessary” costs that employees incur while working. Both exempt and non-exempt employees are covered. Employers are required to pay a “reasonable” sum toward the cost of providing a cell phone, which includes voice and data service.

Many employers may be responsible for some of the costs associated with employees using their personal phones for work-related activities including making calls, sending and receiving messages and emails, and even installing apps. If a worker uses the internet at home for work, the cost of the service is reimbursable.

In general, businesses are not compelled to reimburse employees for travel expenses to get to and from work. However, if an employee uses a personal car throughout the day for work-related activities, the employer is required to cover all related expenses, including gasoline, depreciation, maintenance, insurance, and registration. The per-mile basis rate established by the IRS can be used for this.

If an employee travels for work, the employer is required to cover all related expenditures, including travel, lodging, meals, and car rentals.

Unfortunately, a lot of firms don’t pay their workers back for these expenses. Employees may not receive any reimbursement for these costs, or they may receive insufficient payment for their travel, mileage, and cell phone fees. In these situations, the employee can consult with an experienced California employment lawyer to see if a legal claim can be made to recoup the cost of these expenses.

Here’s what you can do if your employer is not paying what they should be

Your employer should be paying you a fair sum for the use of your personal phone and for your mileage, for instance, if you are frequently needed to use your phone to make work calls and also need to use your own vehicle to commute to other offices.

An employment lawyer in California might suggest that you have the option to sue your company if they have refused to cover your expenses. You may be eligible to file a class action lawsuit in some circumstances, which is a lawsuit brought by one or more people on behalf of a larger group of people who have all experienced the same or similar sort of violation, if this is a part of a wider pattern of underpaying employees.

Every employee should be treated equitably and in line with California law. At PLBH, can assist if your employer has breached your rights. Call (800) 435-7542 or send an email to to set up a meeting with one of our knowledgeable California employment lawyers.