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Travel, commuting time: When must employers pay?

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in Centerpiece,Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Determining when and how much to pay employees for their travel and commuting time is a complex subject, governed by Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations.

Employers need to know what is considered working time when employees are traveling; how to deal with weekend time that may combine business and personal travel; and how to handle requests for travel reimbursements when company vehicles are used for "commuting."

1. If an employee travels on company business outside of his/her regular work hours, is that time considered "working" time?

Depending on the circumstances, employees may, indeed, be entitled to compensation for that time. Whether employees' travel time must be counted as hours worked hinges on the kind of travel involved:

  • Commuting: Employees who travel to and from their homes to work are commuting, which isn't working time. The same rule applies even if the worksite changes every day.
  • Trav...(register to read more)

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Alice February 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

I am a employee of a company that requires me to work from my home and do calls to peoples homes for my job. Some of those calls can be more than 2 hours away. When does my company have to start paying my mileage? I do not work from any other office only my home.

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lee November 12, 2013 at 10:46 am

My job requires that i stay in a hotel all year. We have always been paid from the time we got into the company car to the area of the city we are working in. My workplace is the company vehicle. We do not get out. The company has recently hired temporary drivers who are getting paid from the time they meet us at the hotel and get into the company car to drive us. After 10 years of doing business this way they now say we are not getting paid till we get to the first building information that we enter into our computer. Do they still have to pay us from the time we get into the car?

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Jimmy September 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I am going with my company to Las Vegas for four days. My question is how much money should my company give me per day for meals etc? Is there a law that they should give me some kind of amount each day?

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Karen August 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm

If an employer makes you travel 45 mins from one facility to another to work. Does the employer have to pay the employee during this travel time. This is a medical field job. Employee was hired to work in one location and now be forced to go to another facility that is 45 mins away from home facility.

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Kathleen July 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Can an employer require employees to drive a company car and pay for gasoline, instead of their own personal car?

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janet June 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

According to FLSA commute time for an employee with an employer vehicle from his/her home to first worksite in NOT considered paid travel time. However, lets look at the other issue at hand, what about an employee that has to commute to a location where the employer vehicle is located at that the employer provides for over night parking?

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Cathy May 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I drive a company car. My office is my home. i am a filed auto adjuster and travel to locations to insepct vehicles. Is the time from my home office to my first assignment considered commute time? Are the miles considered commute time? I may travel 2 hours or 30 minutes to the first claim.

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ted February 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Can an employer make you take a company truck home so they don’t have to pay drive time to first job and back after last job. I also haveto log in on a laptop to dispatch myself on job tickets in the morning and get job locations and details. I only live 15 min from office.

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janet June 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I’m in the same situation as yourself with the travel time from home to work, work to home in company vehicle. Did you get any answers?

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John January 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Janet,

The answer to that question is “no”. If an employer requires you to drive a company vehicle (regardless of their reasoning), they are setting themselves up for compensating your drive time.

Do you live in CA? If so, I can probably help you out.

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Danielle M December 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm

If I’m an hourly employee driving a company truck to the plant where I load for the day, do I get paid from my house to the plant? If not what would happen if I got into an accident in a company truck? Southern California is where I’m located.

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Painterdude July 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I am a painting contractor in Auberry Ca. and some of my employees drive to the shop and catch a ride in one of the work trucks so they dont have to drive there own vehicle to the job site. Am i required to pay them travel time?Also I have two emplyees that drive work trucks from the shop to the job site and back. They dont load anything they just drive my trucks. Do I have to pay then travel time ? Our job site locations change daily or weekly. Most job sites are within half an hour.
Thank you Pd

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John January 3, 2014 at 8:32 pm

PD,

If you have employees drive company vehicles to/from job sites from your shop, then you most definitely have to pay for their drive time.

The employees who meet at your office together and then basically carpool to the job site, most likely not.

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kansi June 25, 2012 at 8:07 am

This article is very informational, but what about the circumstance where an employee meets at an ‘agreeable’ location (that is not the office) and gets a ride in the company truck to the jobsite? Our jobsites change weekly and sometimes are 2 hours away from the office. If an employee’s home is ‘on the way’, we offer to pick them up at an accessible location (ie park-and-ride) so they don’t have to pay for the extra gas/car maintenance to get to that jobsite. In which category would that fall? Thank you.

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