Driver Reimbursement

You’re entitled to be reimbursed for getting to and from work. In fact, California law requires employers to pay you for the miles you drive on the job. This is called a “mileage reimbursement”, and it applies whether you drive a company car or your own vehicle. You’ll get paid by the mile (usually at 55 cents per mile), just like with a taxi service. The most common scenario is when your employer provides a vehicle for use at work (such as an Uber driver). But even if they don’t provide transportation, they still have to reimburse you for mileage under certain circumstances.

Driving is a part of the job.

Driving is a part of the job. You are not being paid to drive, but you are being paid to work. Driving is a necessary component of your job, and therefore mileage reimbursement is appropriate.

How much can you get reimbursed?

If you’re required to drive for your job, you can be reimbursed for the cost of gas and maintenance on your vehicle. You may also be eligible to get reimbursed for depreciation if your employer provides a car or other means of transportation.

  • Gas: The IRS limits reimbursement to $0.56 per mile driven within California, but the state allows employers to reimburse employees at a higher rate (up to $0.57). This means that if your company pays more than $0.57 per mile, it’s still possible that you’ll receive less than what your tax return would show as taxable income—a point worth keeping in mind when considering whether or not it’s worth filing taxes every year. Dropping off at an airport? This is an excellent reason why everyone should have some miles left over after charging their trip back home!
  • Maintenance: If your business provides maintenance on its fleet of vehicles, they might cover the cost of repairs while they’re being used by employees on business trips—but only if those repairs were made while traveling outside the city limits (defined here as all points north of Chico). If a repair was performed while inside city limits, then no reimbursement will be provided (and thus no deduction either).
  • Depreciation: The IRS allows deductions up to $11,560 for 2018; this includes depreciation plus any additional expenses related to owning/leasing/maintaining vehicles owned by an employee who uses them primarily for work purposes.”

Who is covered under California’s mileage reimbursement law?

The law covers employees who are required to use their own vehicle in the course of employment. The following are examples of employees who fall under this category:

  • Employees who are reimbursed for their mileage under a reimbursement plan.
  • Employees required to drive a company car or other vehicle that is owned by the employer and used for work purposes, including: selling products or services, transporting materials back and forth from clients/customers, driving for deliveries or making business calls on behalf of their company.

What’s not covered?

  • Gas
  • Parking
  • Car maintenance and repairs
  • Car insurance
  • Car washes/detailing services
  • Tolls and bridge tolls (if you’re driving on your own dime)

Do you have to take your car on the job?

You might be able to be reimbursed for mileage if:

  • You have a job that requires you to take your car on the job. For example, if your employer requires that you drive clients or customers around for business purposes, then those miles may be eligible for reimbursement.
  • Your company doesn’t require the use of a car in connection with your work, but you still use one anyway (for example, because it’s more convenient than public transportation). In these cases, there’s no guarantee that your employer will reimburse you as long as they don’t require it.

You can always check with HR or check out state law to find out whether or not they’ll pay mileage reimbursement—but keep in mind that there are some jobs where workers aren’t allowed any kind of compensation at all!

What if I need a car to get to work?

If you need to use your own car, or an employer-provided car while on a business trip, you can be reimbursed for mileage. You may also be reimbursed for mileage in the following cases:

  • If you use a vehicle owned by a business other than your employer
  • If you use a rental car or vehicle provided by an outside source such as Uber, Lyft or another transportation service like Uber

Can your employer dock you pay for driving in your free time?

No. An employer can’t dock your pay for driving in your free time. If you use your car for personal reasons, you’re not entitled to reimbursement.

This rule is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which determines wage and hour compliance. If an employee uses their own vehicle on company business, the law requires employers to reimburse them at a rate of $0.54 per mile in California—unless they have a written agreement with their employer detailing otherwise. Most employers don’t have such an agreement, because paying employees for mileage is logistically difficult unless the employee has no other responsibilities besides driving around all day!

You’re entitledto be reimbursed for getting to and from work.

As an employee, you’re entitled to be reimbursed for getting to and from work. For example, if your job requires you to drive a specific amount of time each day or week, then you can be reimbursed for mileage. You must keep track of how many miles you’ve driven in a month and the purpose of these trips.

The IRS sets the standard rate for mileage reimbursement at 54 cents per mile as of 2018 (it’s adjusted each year based on inflation). However, this doesn’t mean that all employers will pay this rate—they may choose instead to reimburse their employees less than that amount or nothing at all. Your employer might also choose not to reimburse drivers who use their own personal vehicles rather than company-provided vehicles—so if this is something important for your situation (and budget), make sure it’s included in your employment contract before signing on!

If your company does reimburse mileage expenses:

  • Keep track of how many miles you’ve driven during the month
  • Record which days those miles were accrued (so counting by week makes more sense than counting by day)


Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of what the California mileage reimbursement law is. Remember: if your employer doesn’t reimburse you for the miles you drive on the job, they are breaking the law. If that happens to be your situation, we recommend talking it over with an employment attorney or labor rights office to find out what options may be available to you.