Can an employer ask you to pay back mileage paid that was over .55 IRS standard?

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Can an employer ask you to pay back mileage paid that was over .55 IRS standard?

If an employer paid 1 per mile all year until now and they decide that they were
overpaying since the the IRS standard is .55 and wish to only pay the IRS
standard going forward can they ask the employee to pay back the difference for
the previous 8 months?

Asked on November 16, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your employer cannot now mandate that you pay this money back as it was not mistakely paid. An employer cannot change its mind as to such a payment after the fact. In other words, changing mileage compensation cannot be retroactive. Once paid, it is final. That having been said, it can make such changes going forward, absent any written agreement to the contrary or some form of legally actionable discrimination.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They can *ask* in the sense that anyone can ask anything they want; however, they cannot compel the employer to pay back the money. Those choose to pay someone at a certain rate; the law does not let them now rethink their choice and get the money back. They can, of course, reduce the rate going forward, as long as the employee does not have a written contract guarantying  certain rate (if he/she does, the employer must honor it).


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