Skip to Content

Is Your Employer Paying You for the Miles You Drive at Work?

California requires employers to reimburse employees for any job-related expenses that they make. This includes buying supplies from a store down the street or paying for a business-related service. If you spent any of your own money on something for your employer’s business, you must be compensated for it.

What most employees don’t realize, however, is that the most common job-related expense they make is probably the use of their personal vehicles. The trips an employee takes to the store down the street or to visit the notary public across town cost them in gas and wear-and-tear on their vehicle.

Mileage Reimbursement in California

Employees obviously use their cars during and off of work. This makes it difficult to precisely assess how much employers should compensate their employees for using personal vehicles on company business.

For example, it wouldn’t be fair to expect an employer to pay for an employee’s full tank of gas if they only used some gas on the errand. Likewise, it wouldn’t be fair to force an employee to use their vehicle without any compensation at all.

Instead, California requires employers to compensate employees 56 cents per mile driven during work, as of January 2021. Sometimes employers set higher rates as a matter of company policy, so those that do must honor the higher rate.

Does My Commute Count?

Although California law requires employees to pay employees for mileage driven for reasons associated with work, their daily commutes don’t count. This means that you should not expect your employer to compensate you for the mileage you drive to work and from it when you’re done for the day.

A caveat here is if you are required to appear at one location at the beginning of your day and travel to another location before you clock out. No matter how many locations you visit or how many miles you travel between locations before your day ends, your mileage must be appropriately compensated.

What Happens If I’m Not Paid for My Mileage?

Employers can provide compensation for mileage in a few different ways, but if yours is failing to pay at all, you should discuss your situation with an employment law attorney. Depending upon how much you drive for work and how long you’ve gone without compensation, you could be owed hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

For more information about this topic or to seek legal assistance, contact K2 Employment Law online.