As a California employee, it should not cost you anything to do your job. California Labor Code section 2802 obliges an employer to reimburse an employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in carrying out job duties or employer directives. This obligation cannot be waived by the employee. The purpose of the law is to prohibit employers from passing on their operating expenses onto their employees for items such as uniforms with company logos on them; tools and equipment; register shortages (such as when a restaurant customer leaves without paying); or protective equipment such as hard hats or respirator masks.
The employer’s duty to reimburse expenses is triggered when it either knows or has reason to know that the employee has incurred a reimbursable expense. If it does, it must exercise due diligence to ensure that each employee is reimbursed.
For example, under Section 2802, if your employer requires you to furnish your own vehicle to be used in the course of employment, whether to drive to customer locations, drive to the bank to make deposits, or drive to make business-related deliveries, it would be obligated to reimburse you for the costs necessarily incurred by you for use of the vehicle. The Department of Labor Standards Enforcement accepts the mileage reimbursement used by the IRS as reasonable. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck is 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven (up 1 cent from the 2017 rate). This allowance takes into account vehicle-related expenses, including fuel, maintenance, repairs, depreciation, tires, and insurance.
Also, if your employer requires that you open a bank account to receive your pay by direct deposit, your employer must then pay you for any cost involved in opening or operating that bank account. Costs of insurance required by an employer are recoverable under the provisions of Section 2802.