Does my employer have to reimburse me for work expenses?
Under California labor law, employees are entitled to reimbursements for any job-related expenses they incur while performing their duties. Employers are legally required to reimburse workers for necessary costs that arise during employment. Business expenses that may qualify for reimbursement include, but are not limited to:
- Mileage and related car costs
- Cellphone expenses
- Supplies for meetings or company events
- Travel for mandatory work trips
- Training and seminar costs
- Office supply and equipment purchases
- Advertising costs
- Business lunches
Regarding uniforms, California requires employers to reimburse uniforms but makes a distinction between a “uniform” and “required clothing.” If an employer requires you to wear any sort of “beige pants” then that is “required clothing”—but not generally a “uniform” because it is assumed you could also wear those outside of work (even if you don’t particularly like beige). However if the beige pants are also branded with your employer’s logo, it’s a uniform—and you’re not required to buy it yourself.
In most cases, California workers should not have to pay for job-related expenses out of their own pockets. When employers fail to reimburse employees for qualifying work expenses, they can be held accountable for the employee’s incurred costs.
However, it is important to follow your employer’s expense policy as regards prior approval and reimbursement of expenses.
Other Unpaid Wage, Overtime & Commission FAQs:
- Am I entitled to meal breaks and rest breaks if I am working remotely?
- Are computer programmers and tech workers exempt from overtime?
- Can an employer disclose my immigration status if I file a claim for unpaid wages?
- Can I get fired for claiming overtime pay?
- Can my employer change my commission plan or withhold commissions?
- Can my employer fire me for filing a wage claim?
- Can salaried workers earn overtime in California?
- Do I still get overtime if I am a commissioned salesperson?
- Does my employer have to pay me for off-the-clock work?
- Does my employer have to reimburse me for work expenses?
- How can a lawyer help with my claim for unpaid wages?
- How can I protect myself from wage theft?
- How can I tell if I am an independent contractor?
- How do I file a claim for unpaid wages?
- How do I know if I am entitled to overtime pay?
- How do I know if my employer needs to pay me overtime?
- How is overtime pay calculated in California?
- How much time do I have to file a wage claim in California?
- How much time do I have to file an overtime claim?
- If I receive a salary, am I exempt from overtime?
- If my employment is terminated, is my employer still required to pay me my commissions?
- Is my employer allowed to deduct anything from my paycheck?
- Is my employer allowed to deduct tips from my paycheck?
- Is my employer allowed to withhold my final wages after firing me?
- Is my employer required to pay for my meal break and rest breaks?
- My employer is forcing me to work through meal breaks. What should I do?
- What are some examples of wage theft?
- What are the main differences between an independent contractor and an employee?
- What is an exempt and non-exempt employee?
- What is the minimum wage in California?
- What should I do if I suspect my employer is withholding wages?
- What should I do if my boss asks me to work off the clock?
- What types of damages can I get in a wage claim against my employer?