Reasonable Business Expense Reimbursements in the Covid Era

One of the lasting impacts of Covid-19 on the workplace is a movement towards working from home. This allows both employers and employees an added measure of safety from contracting Covid-19 during the pandemic. But this movement towards working from home can also create additional employer obligations to the employee.

One such obligation under California Labor Code section 2802 is the reimbursement of work-related expenses, including those expenses that are incurred by employees while working from home, when they are required to do so. There are no provisions in California law that allow an employee to waive their right to such reimbursement. Common work-related expenses are things like travel expenses, business use of a personal cell phone, driving costs, and the like.

When it comes to reimbursements, there are expenses that would not normally be incurred at the workplace, yet still need to be reimbursed when your employees are working from home. Common work from home expenses includes office equipment (chairs, desks, writing tools, etc.), printing equipment, cost of online subscriptions, home utilities and internet bills. Ultimately, whether an expense should be reimbursed depends on whether it is truly an expense for work. How much to reimburse your employees and how to document such reimbursement are questions that requires assistance from counsel. 

Be careful too – failure to reasonably reimburse your employees can be a costly mistake and increase your exposure to litigation and especially PAGA claims.  If you need help determining which expenses require reimbursement at your company, or how to properly address these legal risks, please contact one of 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 depositphoto.com.)

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