Reimbursement of Business Expenses: Employer Obligations and Employee Entitlements
Reimbursement of business expenses is an important aspect of the employer-employee relationship. When employees incur expenses while performing their job duties, employers may be legally obligated to reimburse those expenses. In this article, we will explore the concept of business expense reimbursement, discuss the legal obligations of employers, highlight common types of reimbursable expenses, and provide guidance for employees on asserting their rights to reimbursement.
Understanding Business Expense Reimbursement
a. Legal Basis: Business expense reimbursement is often governed by state labor laws, which may require employers to reimburse employees for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred in the course of their employment.
b. Scope of Reimbursement: Reimbursement typically covers expenses that are directly related to an employee’s job duties and incurred for the benefit of the employer.
Common Reimbursable Expenses
a. Travel Expenses: This includes costs for transportation, accommodation, meals, and incidentals when employees travel for business purposes.
b. Mileage Expenses: Employees who use their personal vehicles for work-related travel may be entitled to reimbursement based on the applicable mileage rate.
c. Meal and Entertainment Expenses: If employees incur expenses for meals or entertainment while conducting business-related activities, such as client meetings or conferences, they may be eligible for reimbursement.
d. Equipment and Supplies: Employees who use their personal equipment or purchase work-related supplies may be entitled to reimbursement for those expenses.
a. Clear Expense Reimbursement Policy: Employers should establish a clear expense reimbursement policy that outlines the types of expenses eligible for reimbursement, the documentation required, and the process for submitting reimbursement requests.
b. Timely Reimbursement: Employers should reimburse employees for eligible expenses within a reasonable timeframe, usually within the next regular payroll cycle.
c. Documentation Requirements: Employers may require employees to provide receipts or other documentation as proof of the expenses incurred. However, employers should not create unreasonable barriers that prevent employees from obtaining reimbursement.
Employee Rights and Asserting Reimbursement Claims
a. Familiarize Yourself with Company Policies: Review your employer’s expense reimbursement policy to understand the eligible expenses and the process for submitting reimbursement requests.
b. Keep Detailed Records: Maintain accurate records of all business-related expenses, including receipts, invoices, and mileage logs, to support your reimbursement claims.
c. Submit Reimbursement Requests: Follow your employer’s established process for submitting reimbursement requests, ensuring that you provide all required documentation.
d. Communicate with Your Employer: If you encounter any issues or delays in receiving reimbursement, communicate with your employer to seek clarification and resolution.
Legal Recourse for Unpaid Reimbursements
a. Review Employment Agreements: Examine your employment agreement or contract to determine if it contains provisions related to business expense reimbursement.
b. Consult an Employment Law Attorney: If your employer fails to reimburse you for eligible expenses or imposes unreasonable barriers to reimbursement, consult with an experienced employment law attorney who can assess your situation, inform you of your rights, and guide you through the legal process.
c. File a Complaint: Depending on the circumstances, you may file a complaint with the appropriate state labor agency or pursue a legal claim to recover the unpaid reimbursements.
Reimbursement of business expenses is an important aspect of fair and lawful employment practices. Employers have obligations to reimburse employees for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the course of their employment. As an employee, it is essential to understand your rights regarding expense reimbursement, keep accurate records of your expenses, and assert your rights to reimbursement when appropriate. Consult with an employment law attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and to seek appropriate remedies for any unpaid reimbursements. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to advocating for employees’ rights and holding employers accountable for business expense reimbursements. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and protect your rights in the workplace.