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California Employers Must Pay Wages and Mileage for “Off-Hours” Work-Related Tasks

In response to our article “Travel Pay in California,” a California employer has asked how he should pay his employees for time spent and for their personal vehicle mileage incurred while shopping for company supplies.

Compensation for All Hours Worked: Of course, an employer must compensate an employee for time worked, even hours after that worker has clocked out for the day. For instance, an employee who stops off on the way home to shop for and buy office items for the employer performing compensable work during that time. However, as commuting time is not compensable, only the time required to stop, shop and get back on the road for home would count as time worked. See also, our article “Travel Pay Revisited.”

Calculating Mileage for a Work-Related Task: California employers must also reimburse workers for mileage incurred in personal vehicles on employment-related tasks. A company should issue and supply appropriate forms or logs to enable such payments. The IRS’s published mileage rates for 2013 are:

  • 56.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 24 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organization

Employers should issue and maintain clear and consistent written policies on such matters. See “Promoting Workplace Productivity with a Sound Policy Handbook and Forms.”

For workplace policy matters, including employee manuals and forms, please contact our firm’s attorneys Tim Bowles or Cindy Bamforth.