What is the law regarding the way in which my employer deducts expenses from pay?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What is the law regarding the way in which my employer deducts expenses from pay?

For my job I am asked to travel occasionally. For the reimbursement of expenses, my boss does something a bit strange. Let’s say I earned $1,000 in pay, and had 200 in miles. He deducts the $200

from the $1000 in pay so $800 then re-adds the $200 but adds it

Asked on July 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

This is illegal:
1) An employer *must* be paid the total amount he or she is due for the work he or she did (e.g. for the days worked, if salaried; for the hours worked, if hourly). The employer may NOT deduct from it except with employee consent/permission, or as ordered by law (e.g. court- or IRS-ordered wage garnishment).
2) Taxes must be withheld and paid on all of an employee's earnings; none of his/her wages or salary may be "tax free."
3) The employer does not have to reimburse your expenses--the law does not require reimbursement--but if they agreed to do so, that reimbursement is in addition to his/her pay, not as a "tax free" part of it. 
It is possible your boss is well-intentioned, but he is breaking the law.

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