Ins and Outs of Expense Reimbursement
Neglecting to pay employees the proper compensation for all hours worked including overtime, is not the only way employers can deprive workers of their proper compensation. A common tactic employers use to withhold an employee’s earning is to refuse to issue reimbursement for expenses paid by employees to fulfill required duties. It is important for employees to understand what qualifies as a work expense and what their employer should be reimbursing them for. Continue reading for more information on expense reimbursement and what you, as an employee, are entitled too.
California labor laws states that an employer must reimburse their employees for all expenses paid by the employee while performing their required duties. Typically an employee must submit an expense report to their supervisor itemizing their purchases and the total expenses for which the employee is to be reimbursed. For example, an expense report created after a business trip would include expenses such as transportation, food, and hotel stays. It is only fair for an employee to be required to submit such a report to protect the integrity of both the employee and the company.
After expense reports are turned in, employers are required to issue reimbursement checks to those employees in a timely fashion. 30 days after the employee submits their reimbursement request is the typical wait time to receive a compensation check. A ruling from a lawsuit involving an employer neglecting to properly compensate employees for work expenses happened in the fall of 2007 in the California Supreme Court. The court decided that instead of an employer issuing a paycheck and a separate reimbursement check to an employee, they may reimburse an employee by increasing their pay, in substitution for an expense reimbursement, as long as it displays the amount the employee received for pay and the amount they received for reimbursement.
Employees who work from their own home office or who are required to travel frequently are the ones who deal with expense reports most often. When traveling, companies are required to pay for everything from all of an employee’s meals to how much they tip the bellboy at their hotel. As long as the employee is there for a company purpose, it is the company who is responsible for all expenses.
When working from home, if employees must have a phone line, fax machine, printer, computer, and internet access, all services and equipment must be reimbursed by the employer if used for work purposes only.
For more information on proper compensation for reimbursement expenses and overtime hours, please contact us!