Should I get paid for mileagesinceI am effectively losing my lunch hour?

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Should I get paid for mileagesinceI am effectively losing my lunch hour?

I’ve been employed at my office for 5 years now and am only 10 miles away. Recently, we have opened up a new office an additional 25 miles away (equalling 35 miles total, from office to office). On some days, we are working at the office 10 miles away in the mornings (8:30 am -1:00 pm) and then drive on our lunch hour to the office 25 miles away to finish up (2-5 pm). Now, my employer states that he will pay us our lunch hour. But, of course he is going to, we are driving back to work during that time (without lunch). Is this legal? And is he required to pay for mileage?

Asked on March 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, as regards mileage--unfortunately, there is no legal obligation for an employer to pay mileage. The tax law makes it easier for employers to do to this if they choose to, by making mileage deductible as a business expense, but it's not required. You can try to negotiate it with your employer, but the employer does not need to do this.

Second, as to providing lunch: it appears that under CA law, if you are working more than 5 hours at a time, the employer must provide a 30 minute meal break. However, if the employer does not do this, then the employer needs to pay the employee for an hour at the employee's regular wage. I believe that this may be in addition to paying the employee for time actually worked by the employee, so it may be the case that you are owed an extra hour of pay--including retroactively, for pay you haven't received to date. Below is a link to a helpful page from your CA government; if you feel you may have a claim for additional compensation, you can contact the state deptartment  of labor or consult with a private employment lawyer.

Here's the link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_mealperiods.htm


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