Q. Do I have to pay my employees for travel time?
A. An employer is generally not required to pay a nonexempt employee for travel time from home to a site where the employee will perform essential parts of the activities for which he or she has been hired. Regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act specifically provide that “normal home-to-work travel is not compensable, even where the employee is expected to report to work at a location away from the location of the employer’s premises.”
There's an exception to this general rule if the employee regularly works at a fixed location and is given a special or unusual assignment in another location. If the travel is a normal and contemplated part of the employment, it is not unusual or special under the meaning of the regulation even if it is infrequent. However, time spent by an employee in travel as part of his or her principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, must be counted as hours worked and is compensable.