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Per Diem Standards California

On Lawyer & Legal » Employment & Labor Law

2,823 words with 2 Comments; publish: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 11:11:00 GMT; (80046.88, « »)

My company is based out of Sacramento, yet I spend most of my time working out of town. I don't fully understand the per diem guidelines, and requirements if there are any. Currently, my company is pre-booking hotels, and giving my crew $20/day/person for food. We are forced to double up on rooms priced at $150/night, so our total daily per diem is under $100/person. Working in San Diego, this is nearly impossible to live comfortably at that rate. Is my employer cheating us out of money? Also are there requirements for M&IE to be given when I travel out of town, but only for the day?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

-Jon S.

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    • This can be complicated. I am assuming that you and "your crew" are legally employees. If you are something else, like so-called independant contractors, then please disregard my answer in it's entitity.

      - Under federal law only, there is no requirement that employers reimburse expenses incurred to employees. The "requirement" if any is a state law requirement. However, IRS has a lot to say about the tax handling of expense reimbursement. Certain rules must be followed for the reimbursement to be non-taxable. These are refered to as the Accountable Plan rules. The names of these rules are Business Purposes, Substantation, Return Excess Amounts, and Reasonableness. These rules can be found in much more detail in IRS pubs 15 and 463. Per Diem is a special variant in which the employer is allowed to choose a maximum expense reimbursement at a standard amount rather then look at actual reciepts. All other normall Accountable Plan rules are still in play. IRS pub 1542 discusses Per Diem in much greater detail.

      - You are based in California, which is to my knowledge the only state that considers expense reimbursement to be protected by their labor code section 2802. Other states consider this to be a contract law issue, generally resolved by the courts. I know the general CA rules on expense reimbursement, but do not know if there are specific Per Diem rules. You might want to download a copy of the Audit Manual and look for Per Diem rules.



      If you and your crew are independant contractor, vendors or some other flavor of "not employees", then you are talking about contract law. Your rights are whatever your contract (and related contract law like UCC) says.

      #1; Mon, 11 Jun 2007 12:28:00 GMT
    • evolution: My company is based out of Sacramento, yet I spend most of my time working out of town. I don't fully understand the per diem guidelines.

      The CA DLSE has recently issued proposed regulations to set forth its position on this very matter. I think you will find them of interest http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/2802Regs/2802Regs-ProposedText13700-13706.pdf

      #2; Mon, 11 Jun 2007 13:49:00 GMT