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Pay Traveling Employees for Time Actually Worked

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Q. How should we compensate an hourly employee for an out-of-town, two-day (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) seminar? In particular, should we pay for the hours during the overnight hotel stay, since the employee must sleep there to be ready for the next day's session? —N.G., North Carolina

A. Here's the rule: When nonexempt employees are away from home overnight, you don't need to pay for any time during which they are completely relieved from duty. This means your hourly employee should be paid from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (assuming that he performs no additional work). The travel time rule is similar: Under the FLSA, when you require nonexempt employees to take an overnight trip, all time spent traveling during the hours corresponding to the employees' regular hours of work must be counted as time worked. That includes hours spent traveling on Saturdays and Sundays when the employee would normally not work.

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