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Travel Time: To Pay, or Not to Pay

Travel Time: To Pay, or Not to Pay


(April 25, 2014)

Whether an employee is paid for travel time depends on the circumstances.  It's worth real money to know the rules relating to compensation of time spent traveling:

  • Reporting to and from work generally does not count as hours worked.
  • Once the workday starts, all time spent traveling counts as hours worked (e.g., when an employee travels from one site to another after first reporting for the day's work).
  • When employees travel and are away overnight, all time spent traveling during the hours corresponding to the employees' normal working hours (even on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) are hours worked. Exclude meal periods or non-working time when out-of-town but not in the act of traveling.
  • When employees are given a special one-day assignment that involves travel but not an overnight stay, all the travel time involved counts as hours worked. Exclude meal periods and any time spent traveling between the employee's home and a point of departure.
  • Time spent commuting in company vehicles between home and assigned service calls are not hours worked as long as (1) use of the employer's vehicle is strictly voluntary and is free to the employee, and (2) the work sites are within the normal commuting area.
  • Travel time can be compensated at the federal minimum wage, even if primary work is compensated at a higher agreed upon rate.
If you have employees who travel, consider adopting a policy that properly addresses the FLSA requirements and your expectations for conducting and recording travel time.
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