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No Need to Pay Employee for Home-to-Seminar Drive

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Q. In determining when to pay for travel time, what if an employee drives his own car to a seminar that's two hours away? Should he get paid for his driving time to and from the seminar, even if he leaves from home and drives straight home afterward? —R.M., North Carolina

A. The time spent by a nonexempt employee driving back and forth from home to the workplace—whether his workplace is your facility or an off-site seminar—is considered “noncompensable commuting time.” That's true even if the employee's “commute” to a seminar facility is far longer than his usual commute. It's also true whether the employee drives his own car or a company car.

But travel time spent on special, one-day trips on assignment in another city (if it's for your benefit) is generally considered compensable. So, the answer to your question depends on whether the employee regularly travels out of town for seminars or whether this is a special one-day trip.

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