When can you be reimbursed for a work-related expense?

As a worker, you may find yourself in a position where you must use your own money to pay for a work-related expense. Under California law, you are entitled to be reimbursed for these expenses. If you are not, you may have grounds to pursue legal action to obtain what you are owed.

Reimbursement of expenses

Under California law, employers are obligated to reimburse workers who pay for work-related expenses out of their own pocket. For example, an employee may need to be reimbursed for food and transportation expenses if they pay for their flight and meals incurred during a work trip. Or, if a worker works from home and needs to purchase a computer or headset so they can perform their job, their employers may need to compensate them for these expenses.

Consequences for failure to reimburse

If an employer fails to reimburse a worker, the worker can bring the matter to court. If a court awards a reimbursement, the award will have the same interest rate as judgments for other civil actions. This interest accrues starting on the date the worker incurred the expense. Necessary expenses include attorney’s fees incurred if a worker must go to court to be reimbursed.

Set yourself up for success

It is essential that if you pay for a work-related expense out of your own pocket, that you save receipts or otherwise keep track of these payments. These can serve as evidence that you paid for a qualifying expense that is eligible for reimbursement. This way, you can set yourself up for success should your employer refuse to pay what you are owed.