29 CFR § 778.217 - Reimbursement for expenses.
(a) General rule. Where an employee incurs expenses on his employer's behalf or where he is required to expend sums by reason of action taken for the convenience of his employer, section 7(e)(2) is applicable to reimbursement for such expenses. Payments made by the employer to cover such expenses are not included in the employee's regular rate (if the amount of the reimbursement reasonably approximates the expense incurred). Such payment is not compensation for services rendered by the employees during any hours worked in the workweek.
(b) Illustrations. Payment by way of reimbursement for the following types of expenses will not be regarded as part of the employee's regular rate:
(1) The actual amount expended by an employee in purchasing supplies, tools, materials, cell phone plans, or equipment on behalf of his employer or in paying organization membership dues or credentialing exam fees where relevant to the employer's business.
(2) The actual or reasonably approximate amount expended by an employee in purchasing, laundering or repairing uniforms or special clothing which his employer requires him to wear.
(3) The actual or reasonably approximate amount expended by an employee, who is traveling “over the road” on his employer's business, for transportation (whether by private car or common carrier) and living expenses away from home, other travel expenses, such as taxicab fares, incurred while traveling on the employer's business.
(4) “Supper money”, a reasonable amount given to an employee, who ordinarily works the day shift and can ordinarily return home for supper, to cover the cost of supper when he is requested by his employer to continue work during the evening hours.
(5) The actual or reasonably approximate amount expended by an employee as temporary excess home-to-work travel expenses incurred (i) because the employer has moved the plant to another town before the employee has had an opportunity to find living quarters at the new location or (ii) because the employee, on a particular occasion, is required to report for work at a place other than his regular workplace.
(c) Payments excluding expenses.
(1) It should be noted that only the actual or reasonably approximate amount of the expense is excludable from the regular rate. If the amount paid as “reimbursement” is disproportionately large, the excess amount will be included in the regular rate.
(2) A reimbursement amount for an employee traveling on his or her employer's business is per se reasonable, and not disproportionately large, if it:
(i) Is the same or less than the maximum reimbursement payment or per diem allowance permitted for the same type of expense under 41 CFR subtitle F (the Federal Travel Regulation System) or IRS guidance issued under 26 CFR 1.274-5(g) or (j); and
(ii) Otherwise meets the requirements of this section.
(3) Paragraph (c)(2) of this section creates no inference that a reimbursement for an employee traveling on his or her employer's business exceeding the amount permitted under 41 CFR subtitle F (the Federal Travel Regulation System) or IRS guidance issued under 26 CFR 1.274-5(g) or (j) is unreasonable for purposes of this section.
(d) Payments for expenses personal to the employee. The expenses for which reimbursement is made must in order to merit exclusion from the regular rate under this section, be expenses incurred by the employee on the employer's behalf or for his benefit or convenience. If the employer reimburses the employee for expenses normally incurred by the employee for his own benefit, he is, of course, increasing the employee's regular rate thereby. An employee normally incurs expenses in traveling to and from work, buying lunch, paying rent, and the like. If the employer reimburses him for these normal everyday expenses, the payment is not excluded from the regular rate as “reimbursement for expenses.” Whether the employer “reimburses” the employee for such expenses or furnishes the facilities (such as free lunches or free housing), the amount paid to the employee (or the reasonable cost to the employer or fair value where facilities are furnished) enters into the regular rate of pay as discussed in § 778.116. See also § 531.37(b) of this chapter.