California court rules that employers must reimburse employee work related use of personal cellphones
posted by Maxwell R. / Aug 20, 2014, 7:35 PM
In the case of Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, a Court of Appeals has ruled that employers are liable to reimburse such expenses as part of the state’s Labor Code.
How much needs to be reimbursed? The court only states, “a reasonable percentage” of the cell phone bill should be compensated for work-related activities on the phone, whether it is phone calls, or email, or other uses. The rate plan was immaterial in the court’s eyes, moreover, it did not matter who was actually paying the bill. If an employee happened to be on a family plan or something, or maybe a relative was paying the bill, that is of no concern to the employer.
The ruling does not go into effect for 30 days, but it may have employers wondering what to do and how to do it. One common way will be to require employees to actually log their usage and submit an expense report. A simpler way would be to offer a monthly stipend to offset the monthly bill. The method for the most control would be for a company to set up a business account with a given carrier, and provide dedicated devices for work.
If you use your phone for work in California, expect changes in the coming weeks.
Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012
I've argued this for years and, given the move towards BYOD, this will get interesting -- at least here in Cali.
posted on Aug 20, 2014, 7:41 PM 2
Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014
Definitely agree -- this is an excellent ruling. There will be a lot of ripple effects over the next few years if this ruling holds up. Personally, I find it somewhat amusing as I always specifically tell my employer that I will not use my personal phone for work. Not going to change my policy until they start paying me for out-of-the-office time/overtime.
posted on Aug 20, 2014, 10:39 PM 0
Posts: 384; Member since: May 12, 2012
yup, had one job where I had to drive around and they wouldnt pay for a MAP (you know, manual GPS :D ), any data I used for GPS, or my cell time for when I was required to call ahead or call when on site, hell, I even had to give customers my PERSONAL cell for support needs! This ruling is about the best thing to happen to stop company's from exploiting an employees own time/equipment/money
posted on Aug 21, 2014, 12:48 PM 1
Posts: 1917; Member since: Dec 07, 2011
My employer has done this for me for a couple of years now. Quite a few people I know also have their employers do something similar. Still this is good for people using their own property for work related purposes. It's like the employer reimbursing you for gas if you need to be at another location but won't supply you a company car.
posted on Aug 21, 2014, 4:50 PM 1
Gee another reason to avoid California.
posted on Aug 20, 2014, 7:54 PM 4
Posts: 749; Member since: Dec 14, 2011
So you want to pay for the phone plan you use for work yourself instead of the company you're working for?
posted on Aug 20, 2014, 9:44 PM 1
Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013
If you are on work, and getting paid, then technically they are paying for your phone already. Without them paying you, you couldn't get a phone. Are they going to pay for the BYOS, bring your own shoes, too? I don't have a dress code, should they have to pay for my clothing? All this means, is that a company will either have to provide phones, or now pay you extra. You wonder why employees hate hiring new people? It is because a 40k employee is something like a 50k employee to the worker sometimes more.
posted on Aug 21, 2014, 7:00 AM 0
Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014
Apple already pays a percentage of your phone bill (depending on your job title). Does this law mean they will pay a larger percentage of it or would this not apply if a company already does this?
posted on Aug 20, 2014, 8:09 PM 0
Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012
This law/ruling would affect most those firms NOT subsidizing. As the post says, the specification is that it be "reasonable" -- and non-zero. Measurement will be the key. I suspect most companies will say "don't use" or "please itemize"
posted on Aug 20, 2014, 8:57 PM 1
Posts: 697; Member since: Nov 24, 2013
My employer pays $50 bucks a month for my personal use. Since I use straight talk, it pays my phone bill each month. With the almost 81 bucks I save, versus a contract phone, I can buy a new phone pretty much anytime I want. My Ascend Mate2 was only 300 bucks.
posted on Aug 21, 2014, 3:43 PM 0
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