Travel expense reimbursements for employees in Nevada

Nevada wage and hour laws do not require private employers to reimburse employees for business-related travel expenses, but many do anyway. Employers who break their contracts with their workers by not covering travel costs face potential lawsuits and hefty punitive damages.

Nevada law mandates that state and county employees receive the following per diem travel allowances:

  • approximately $93 for lodging, and
  • approximately $51 for meals and incidentals

State or county employees who use their own vehicles to travel for business may be able to receive 54.5¢ per mile.

In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada labor law attorneys discuss:

Also see our article about work-related expense reimbursements in Nevada.

man in business suit lookout out airport window at airplane
Many private employers reimburse their employees for the costs of traveling for business trips.

1. Travel expense reimbursements for private employees in Nevada

In general, private employers are not required to reimburse employees for travel expenses. However, many private employers choose to reimburse their employees for travel expenses because those expenses are usually tax deductible.

If an employer has a travel expense reimbursement policy for its employees, then the employer must stick to its terms. Sometimes this policy may be spelled out in either:

  • an employee handbook
  • an employment contract
  • an unwritten but generally accepted company policy that employees reasonably rely on

If an employer reneges on its contractual promise to pay employees for their travel costs, then the employee may be able to sue the employer for breach of contract and bad faith. Note that employees who are not reimbursed for their travel expenses may be able to deduct them from on their own tax returns.

Also note that it is illegal for employers to reimburse some employees and not others on the basis of either:

businesswoman on bus
Employers may not discriminate on the basis of gender.
  • race
  • religion
  • gender (or gender identity)
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • disability

Employees who are deprived of travel reimbursements because they are in one of these protected classes may be able to sue the employer for employment discrimination in Nevada.1

1.1. Payment for time spent traveling for work

Nevada law requires employers to pay non-exempt employees wages for every hour they work. This includes time that employees spend traveling for work during working hours, even if they are not getting any work done during that travel time.2

Note that employers usually do not have to pay employees for the time they spend commuting to and from work.

2. Travel expense reimbursements for state employees

Every state agency has its own specific policies regarding covering employees' travel costs. Some across-the-board rules include:

  • Employees are not entitled to per diem allowances unless they are at least 50 miles from their workstation.
  • The standard lodging per diem rate for traveling in Nevada is $93, but it varies depending on location and time of year. The per diem may be larger for out-of-state travel.
  • The standard meals and incidentals (M &IE) per diem rate for traveling in Nevada is $51, but it varies depending on location and time of year. The per diem may be larger for out-of-state travel. 
  • Certain state employees who travel more than four (4) times in a year may be eligible to use a state-sponsored credit card to travel.
  • Employees may also get reimbursed for such travel expenses as :
    • parking fees
    • commercial transportation costs
    • use of internet services, conference room rentals, etc.
    • laundry if the business trip is four (4) nights or longer3

Note that some travel expenses are advanced to employees prior to travel, and some may be reimbursed after the trip. Here is the State of Nevada Employee Travel Reimbursement Form. The transportation codes are the following:

Type of Transportation for State Official and Employees

State of Nevada Reimbursement Code

Plane

P

Private plane

PP

Public transportation (subway, city bus)

PT

Passenger in car

X

Private car

PC

State car (motor pool or agency car)

SC

Other (limo, taxi, shuttle, rental car, railroad, inter-city bus)

OT

Employees are advised to keep all their receipts and record the beginning and end of every trip.

Also, note that state agencies must use Southwest for flights between Reno and Las Vegas, and they must use Nevada's Fleet Services Division to rent cars.4

2.1. Employees' vehicles

State employees who travel on state business using their own cars get reimbursed for mileage, but the amount depends on whether they use their cars for their own convenience or the state's:

business man in backseat of car with laptop
The standard mileage reimbursement rate is currently 54.5¢/mile.
  • at the state's convenience: the standard mileage reimbursement rate, which is currently 54.5 cents per mile
  • at the employee's convenience: half the standard mileage reimbursement rate, which is currently 27.25 cents per mile

Note that the only miles counted are those in excess of the employees' normal commute between their office and residence.5

3. Travel expense reimbursements for county/ township employees in Nevada

Like state employees, county or township employees are entitled to reimbursement for necessary traveling expenses to conduct public business.

In general, reimbursements for traveling by a private conveyance (such as an employee's car) cannot exceed the amount charged by public transportation (such as a train) to take the same trip. But if there is no public transportation available for that trip, then the reimbursement would be the standard rate of 54.5 cents per mile.

County and township employees are also entitled to per diem allowances for business trips of five (5) days or less:

business man with suitcase
One benefit of working for the state or county is travel expense reimbursement.
  • The standard lodging per diem rate for traveling in Nevada is $93, but it varies depending on location and time of year. The per diem may be larger for out-of-state travel.
  • The standard meals and incidentals (M &IE) per diem rate for traveling in Nevada is $51, but it varies depending on location and time of year. The per diem may be larger for out-of-state travel.6

4. Suing for travel expense reimbursements in Nevada

Employers who break their promise to pay their employees for business-related travel may be able to file a lawsuit against the employer. The amount of the travel expenses determines which court has jurisdiction:

Amount of travel expenses

Court of jurisdiction

Up to $10,000

Small Claims Court

$10,000.01 - $15,000

Justice Court

$15,000.01 and higher

District Court

If the case goes to trial and the plaintiff wins, the employer may be ordered to pay:

  • the travel expenses plus interest
  • court costs
  • attorneys' fees

And if the employer maliciously or intentionally denied the employee travel expenses, the court may also order punitive damages.

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Are you owed money by your Nevada employer for business travel? Call our Las Vegas employment attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation. If we cannot settle with your employer, we will fight for you in court in pursuit of the largest money damages possible.

Work in California? See our article on California travel expense reimbursements.


Legal References

  1. NRS 613.330.
  2. NRS 608.016.
  3. FY 2018 Per Diem Rates for Nevada, GSA.gov.

    State Administrative Manual (SAM), Nevada Department of Administration (September 16, 2014).

    NRS 281.160  Persons entitled to payment for expenses; rate of allowance for travel; use of private or special use vehicles; reimbursement of weekend travel expenses; regulations.

          1.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, 5 or 6, or by specific statute, if a district judge, state officer, state employee or member of an advisory board supported in whole or in part by any public money, whether the public money is received from the Federal Government or any branch or agency thereof, or from private or any other sources, transacts public business outside of the municipality or other area in which the person's principal office is located, the judge, officer, employee or member, as applicable, is entitled to receive the person's expenses in the transaction of that public business, to be paid at a rate established by the State Board of Examiners, for each 24-hour period during which the person is:

          (a) Away from the office and within the State; or

          (b) Outside of the State.

          2.  Any person enumerated in subsection 1 is entitled to receive expenses for a period of less than 24 hours in accordance with regulations of the State Board of Examiners.

          3.  Any person enumerated in subsection 1 is entitled to receive an allowance for transportation in the transaction of public business, whether within or outside of the municipality or other area in which the person's principal office is located. Transportation must be by the most economical means, considering total cost, time spent in transit and the availability of state-owned automobiles and special use vehicles. The State Board of Examiners shall establish the rate of the allowance for travel by private conveyance. The rate must equal the standard mileage reimbursement rate for which a deduction is allowed for the purposes of federal income tax that is in effect at the time the rate is established. If a private conveyance is used for reasons of personal convenience in transaction of state business, the allowance for travel is one-half the established rate.

          4.  The State Board of Examiners may establish a transportation allowance for the use of private, special use vehicles on public business by any person enumerated in subsection 1, whether within or outside of the municipality or other area in which the person's principal office is located. The allowance must be established at rates higher than the rates established in subsection 3.

          5.  The State Board of Examiners may establish:

          (a) A room rate in excess of the normal allowance for reimbursement of employees who are required to travel on weekends to serve the needs of the public. The Board may require the submission of receipts as a condition of reimbursement at the special rate.

          (b) Reasonable rates for expenses outside of the United States that will allow a person to purchase the same quality of food as the domestic rate allows.

          6.  The State Board of Examiners shall adopt regulations, and shall require other state agencies to adopt regulations, in accordance with the purpose of this section, and a state agency may, with the approval of the State Board of Examiners, adopt a rate of reimbursement less than the amounts established pursuant to subsection 1 where unusual circumstances make that rate desirable.

          7.  The rate established by the State Board of Examiners pursuant to subsection 1 must be the same as the comparable rate established for employees of the Federal Government by the Administrator of General Services pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 5707, but is not subject to any federal requirement, restriction or other condition that is applicable to that comparable rate.


    NRS 281.165  District judge to submit claims for travel and subsistence to Court Administrator.  All claims of district judges for travel expenses and subsistence allowances must be submitted to the Court Administrator in accordance with NRS 1.365.


    NRS 281.167  Payment of subsistence and expenses of travel and moving on transfer or hiring of state employee; repayment on voluntary termination of employment; regulations; claims.

          1.  A state agency, board or commission may pay for the travel, subsistence and expenses of moving household furnishings and appliances of an employee and the employee's family if:

          (a) The agency, board or commission transfers, for the convenience of the State, an employee with permanent status from one location to another for permanent assignment;

          (b) The agency, board or commission accepts an employee who, for the convenience of the State, changes employment from another agency, board or commission; or

          (c) The employee:

                 (1) Was hired for a permanent position, whether classified or unclassified, for which there is a critical need and which cannot otherwise be filled; and

                 (2) Moved from a location which was at least 50 miles from the employee's new location.

          2.  If an employee who has been reimbursed pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection 1 voluntarily terminates the employment of the employee within 1 year after beginning work, the employee must repay to the State the amount of the reimbursement. The agency, board or commission may withhold from the employee's regular pay or final payment received upon the termination of the employment of the employee, the amount of the repayment required by this subsection.

          3.  Maximum allowances for weight, travel and subsistence for the employee and the employee's family must be determined by regulations of the State Board of Examiners.

          4.  All requests for payment pursuant to this section must be submitted to the State Board of Examiners before obligations are incurred. Upon approval by the State Board of Examiners, claims must be submitted for payment in the same manner as other claims against the state from money available to the agency, board or commission.


    NRS 281.169  Payment of travel and per diem expenses of applicant for employment; claims.

          1.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, a state agency, board or commission may pay for the travel and per diem expenses of the three most highly rated applicants for a permanent position with that agency, board or commission incurred while those applicants are being interviewed for that position.

          2.  If such an applicant must travel from another state to be interviewed, the expenses must be paid at the rate established by the State Board of Examiners for state employees traveling outside the State. If such an applicant must travel from within the State to be interviewed, the expenses must be paid at the rate established by the State Board of Examiners for state employees traveling within the State.

          3.  If the position is offered to one of the applicants and that applicant does not accept it, the agency, board or commission may not pay for that applicant's expenses.

          4.  All requests for payment pursuant to this section must be submitted to the State Board of Examiners before obligations are incurred. Upon approval by the State Board of Examiners, claims must be submitted for payment in the same manner as other claims against the State from money available to the agency, board or commission.
     

  4. State Administrative Manual (SAM), Nevada Department of Administration (September 16, 2014).
  5. Id.
  6. NRS 245.060  Travel expenses: Reimbursement; per diem allowance.

          1.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, if a county or township officer or an employee of the county is entitled to receive reimbursement for his or her necessary traveling expenses for the transaction of public business, such reimbursement must include actual living expenses, but the amount allowed for traveling by private conveyance must not exceed the amount charged by public conveyance. Where it appears to the satisfaction of the board of county commissioners that travel by private conveyance is more economical, or where it appears that, owing to train, airplane or bus schedules or for other reasons, travel by public conveyance is impractical, or in case a part of the route traveled is not covered by public conveyance, the board of county commissioners, in its discretion, may allow for traveling by private conveyance an amount not to exceed the maximum per-mile allowance for travel by private conveyance established by the State Board of Examiners for state officers and employees generally.

          2.  The board of county commissioners of a county may provide, to any county or township officer or employee of the county who is required to travel for the transaction of public business for a period of not more than 5 consecutive working days at a time, a per diem allowance and travel expenses at the same rate as the comparable rate established for employees of the Federal Government by the Administrator of General Services pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 5707, excluding any federal requirement, restriction or other condition which is applicable to that comparable rate.


    NRS 245.062  Travel expenses: Adoption and contents of ordinance establishing procedures for payment; advance constitutes lien on wages.

          1.  The board of county commissioners of a county shall, by ordinance, establish procedures for the payment of authorized travel expenses of county officers and employees arising out of their official duties or employment as provided in NRS 245.060.

          2.  The ordinance must require that each department of the county set forth in its annual budget the maximum amount of money that it estimates will be necessary to pay for necessary travel expenses for the fiscal year. The ordinance may contain procedures by which the amount budgeted by a department during the fiscal year may be increased if the estimated amount of money is insufficient to pay for actual travel expenses.

          3.  The ordinance may authorize certain officers or employees to disburse money to pay an advance or claim for travel expenses to an employee without obtaining the approval of the board of county commissioners if the amount of such an advance or claim was included in the annual budget of the employing department.

          4.  All money advanced to a county officer or employee to pay for his or her travel expenses constitutes a lien in favor of the county upon the accrued wages of the officer or employee to whom the advance was made. The county may advance more money to an officer or employee than the amount of his or her currently accrued wages.

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