Q. One of our work crews needs to drive to a single work site during the day. One employee drives a truck and trailer with tools and equipment from our main facility. We would like to allow other employees to save gas by riding in the company’s truck. Do we need to pay employees for this commute time?
A. Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (), as well as Minnesota law, employees are not entitled to be paid for ordinary commuting time between home and work. This is true even if employees travel from home in the morning to a different job site each day. A voluntary employee carpool from employees’ homes to an initial work site would not change the nature of non-compensable commuting time.
However, once an employee reaches the first work site and begins working, travel time to a second work site during the day likely must be paid. If employees must report to a workplace before going to a job site—such as to pick up materials or equipment—then they must be paid starting when they report to the initial work site.
It appears that in your situation, the employee who must report to your main facility to drive the truck with tools and equipment must be paid from the time that he or she reports to that facility and during the drive to the job site. If other employees genuinely have the voluntary option of driving to the job site themselves or meeting the company truck to ride to the site without performing any work beforehand, they likely don’t need to be compensated for the time in which they commute to or from the job site. If, however, the employees must report to the main facility before heading to the job site, their time spent driving to the site is compensable.
Megan L. Anderson is an attorney with Gray Plant Mooty’s Employment Law Practice Group in Minneapolis. Concentrating her practice in employment law counseling and litigation, she regularly advises employers and provides training on a variety of employment law issues. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (612) 632-3004.