Do I Need to Pay My Employees for Travel Time in California?

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Traveling for work can be a necessary part of many jobs, and it is important for both employers and employees to understand how to manage travel time and expenses. Do you need to pay your employees for travel time? Yes! California has specific laws and regulations that employers must abide by as it pertains to reimbursing employees for travel expenses.

Make a Policy

The first step in effectively managing travel time and expenses is to establish a clear and comprehensive travel policy. This policy should outline the expectations for employees when it comes to travel, including what expenses will be reimbursed, how to report expenses, and any other guidelines or requirements. Having a clear travel policy in place can help avoid confusion and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Reimburse Employees for All Required Expenses

Under California Labor Code Section 2802, employers are required to reimburse employees for all necessary expenses, which includes expenses incurred while traveling for business purposes. This includes expenses such as transportation, lodging, meals, and incidentals. Employers must also reimburse employees for any expenses incurred while traveling to and from work-related activities, such as conferences or client meetings.

Keep Accurate Records

To ensure your business is in compliance with state law, it is necessary to keep accurate records of all travel expenses. This includes receipts, invoices, and any other documentation related to travel expenses. Employers should also keep track of the dates and locations of travel, as well as the purpose of the trip.

Use Technology to Streamline the Process

Managing travel expenses can be a time-consuming and tedious process, but technology can help streamline the process. There are a variety of tools and apps available that can help employees easily track and report expenses, and can also help employers quickly approve and reimburse expenses. By utilizing technology, the process can be made more efficient and less burdensome for everyone involved.


Managing travel time and expenses for employees can be a complex process, but by establishing a clear travel policy, reimbursing employees for all necessary expenses, keeping accurate records, and utilizing technology, the process can be made much easier. By following these tips, employers can ensure compliance with state regulations and help make travel a more positive experience for their employees.

For more information on reimbursing employees for their travel time and expenses, please contact us at

This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.