Must we pay hourly worker for drive to conference? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Must we pay hourly worker for drive to conference?

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Q. Recently a nonexempt employee left from work to attend a two-day conference. She left at 2:30 p.m. and arrived at the location at 5:00 p.m. I interpret that we should pay for eight hours since her travel was from the work location and within normal work hours. The next day, she left the conference at 4:15 p.m. and arrived back in town at 7 p.m., but she didn’t stop at the office. Since travel time is outside of normal (8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.) work hours, is she paid for travel time or just for work hours attending conference? — M.B., Georgia

A. You would, of course, have to pay this nonexempt employee for all hours spent attending the conference. In addition, you must pay for all of her travel time that falls within her normal work hours. In this case, because she began her journey home at 4:15 p.m. and she normally works until 4:30 p.m., you would be required to pay for only 15 minutes of her travel time.

Many employers, however, are more generous than the law requires and give nonexempt employees at least something for enduring a long trip. Be consistent in following such pay policies with all employees. 

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