Travel Time Is ‘Work Time’ if It Cuts Across Workday — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Travel Time Is ‘Work Time’ if It Cuts Across Workday

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Q. We hired a new branch manager in a one-person office in another town. Because she earns $19,240 a year, she doesn't meet the new annual threshold of $23,660 for exempt status, correct? Several times a year, she escorts trips involving overnight stays. While she's out, she forwards her calls to the host office and closes her doors. How do we compensate her? Am I right that she has to be considered "hourly"? And how do we compensate for the overnight and travel time? —K.H., Kansas

A. To qualify as an exempt employee, she must satisfy three tests: (1) earn more than $455 per week ($23,660 a year); (2) not have her salary docked for certain reasons; and (3) meet one of the “job duties” tests. Here, it's plain that your branch manager doesn't satisfy the salary-level test (she earns below the required amount), so there's no need to apply the salary basis and job duties tests. She'd clearly be classified as a nonexempt employee.

Travel time away from home is clearly work time when it cuts across the employee's workday. The time is hours worked on regular working days not only during normal working hours, but also during corresponding hours on nonworking days. On the other hand, travel time isn't considered compensable when it's spent away from home outside of regular working hours.

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