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working for EU based company in California

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  • working for EU based company in California

    Hello and thank you for any responses to my questions, I've been working for a European based company for less than a year but I am a California resident working in CA. Various personal and health reasons have me wanting to depart my job, but reviewing our employee manual I think there are discrepancies between what I am due when I depart, and California law. Our HR director is a piece of work, and any conversation with her starts with her saying "No, I dont care what you think the law is, our handbook says this, and you agreed to it." I have avoided asking her for anything to this point, and she does not know I intend to leave. I have seen her berate other employees both via email and phone messages, and I'd prefer to get some opinions here before I take her on over these items. I'm considering leaving with only 72 hours notice, specifically to limit my interaction time with her. I'd prefer links to online resources if you do have opinions, I've tried searching the state website myself but it is a god awful mess.


    1. Our employee handbook says we receive sick days in addition to vacation time as specified in our employment contracts, at the rate of 1/2 day per month up to a maximum of 6 days per calendar year. My employment contract states I receive 20 days vacation per calendar year. I have been working for the company for 5.5 months, 169 days as of Jan 1st. Our HR director sent an email out stating that we had accumulated 9 vacation days as of Jan 1st. She rounded away any fraction of a day, can she do this without paying us for the fraction of a day?


    2. Is an exempt employee who works 169 days out of 365, 11 pay periods out of 24 due 9.16 vacation days (11/24 * 20) or 9.26 days (169/365 * 20) ?

    3. The employee handbook states we are not due compensation for sick days we do not take at termination, they only pay us for vacation time, is this legal in CA?

    4. All employees were required to attend a meeting in Europe as part of their position with the company. Employees who did not have Passports were required to pay for them out of their own pocket and denied the right to expense this cost, is this legal?

    5. The company required expense to be submitted for 2009 at the beginning of December, since we had to pay for the Europe trip ourselves, this is a considerable cost for some employees, the company has not paid those expenses and it is now 40 days after I've submitted them, what is the time frame in which they must pay those expenses or respond that they are not intending to do so? What is the correct action to take should they continue to delay paying them? Is this like the final pay issue where they must pay within a certain time frame or face penalties?

  • #2
    1/2. How much rounding occurred?

    3. Yes, it is.

    4. I'm going to punt on this one, but my first impression would be that the company should reimburse you for this. It could be argued, however, that it was a cost that would benefit you personally, even if you were no longer working there.

    5. CLC Section 2802 does not specify what "reasonable" is, but I would opine that 40 days is not reasonable, especially for such a large personal output. Expense reimbursements are not "wages" for the purpose of pay day rules or final pay.
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    • #3
      1. From 9 and a remainder days to 9 days.

      2. Either rounded from 9.16 or 9.26 depending on which math should be followed.

      5. Guess I'm stuck on getting paid expenses when ever they feel like it, or get around to it. 'Reasonable' has an entirely different meaning in EU than US. No stick to wave to hurry things along means I'll be waiting up to 90 days for them to pay me, that is if they do it after I leave.

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      • #4
        In CA you can always file a wage claim for unpaid business expenses. The problem is not just that CLC 2802 does not spell out what "reasonable" is, but CA-DLSE in it's wisdom apparently does not either. The only real CA-DLSE guidance I have seen on the subject is that business expense reimbursements are not wages and are not subject to the "when wages are due" rules.

        Now this is just me, but I have done a lot of accounts payable and payroll in CA, and I can say that there is some level of default to Net-30 for accounts payable purposes. I have no idea where that comes from. Maybe UCC. Maybe a lot of things. But I have been to seminars where that was mentioned in an accounts payable context. But I would say Net-30, plus maybe 10 days mail time (Patty's 40 day number) is around where I would recommend terminated employees file wage claims for unpaid business expenses under CLC 2802. I would also want to be able to show CA-DLSE that I make a "good faith effort" to collect this myself.

        Also, unrelated to this, speaking as someone who has had 4 different AP departments report to me, if it takes more then 30 days to pay someone it is because someone is sitting on the payment. Figure 3-4 days snail mail each way, 7-10 days to chase approvals and a week to process for payment (most firms do not issue AP payments more then weekly), it is very hard to come up with more then 30 days. On the flip side, getting it much less then 15 days implies quick approval and manual check processing. And it has been a very long time since I have studied this, but I am pretty sure that Uniform Commerce Code (UCC) considers Net-30 to be standard (way back in the early 1960s) as a reasonable length of time to make payments when not hard specified otherwise by contract.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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