The Importance of Cell Phone Reimbursement

In California under Labor Code Section 2802, employers are required to reimburse employees for the use of an employee’s personal cell phone. If an employee uses their cell phone to clock in and out, make work-related calls or text messages this triggers an employer’s responsibility to provide an employee with a reasonable repayment of the actual costs of their personal cell phone bill.

A reasonable percentage will be fact and case specific since not every employee will use their cell phone the same amount of time or use. For example, a manager may use their cell phone for most of the workday making work related calls and in contrast, a non-management employee may only use their cell phone to clock in and out of work.  In this case, it may be reasonable to reimburse the manager more than the non-management employee.  Do know that there are different ways an employer may go about reimbursing employees for their personal cell phone usage. Some employers may pay their employees a stipend for the personal cell phone usage, some may pay their employee’s full cell phone bill or other employers may choose to provide a company cell phone.   Either method may satisfy the Labor Code 2802 reimbursement requirements for an employee’s cell phone use.

It is extremely important that employers take cell phone reimbursement seriously as the failure to reimburse personal cell phone use has become a highly litigated claim.  Such claims expose employers to individual claims or PAGA cases (Private Attorney General Act) claims.  These lawsuits are very costly to employers. To ensure you minimize your legal risk regarding personal cell phone use and other reimbursement requirements, auditing your employee use of their cell phone and their paystubs is important.  For guidance on reimbursement and expense issues in the workplace, contact the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.

This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute legal advice.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact  Chauvel & Glatt at 650-881-3009 for legal assistance near you. (photo credit: depositphotos.com).

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