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Must we compensate for travel time?

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Q. I have an employee who has a substantial daily commute—75 miles each way. Do I have to compensate the employee for time spent traveling to and from work?

As a general rule, time spent traveling to and from work does not count as hours worked, and therefore does not have to be compensated. Like all rules, however, there are exceptions.

Time spent by an employee traveling as part of the principal work activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, or travel between customers, is counted as hours worked and must be paid.

Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight
must also be compensated, but only when the travel time occurs during an employee’s normal workday. Thus, if an hourly employee’s normal workday runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., only out-of-town travel during those hours must be paid. This rule applies whether the travel occurs on a regular workday or a customary off-day.

Out-of-town travel that is completed in one day
receives different treatment. The employee is compensated for the travel from home to the out-of-town work site, less the amount of time it would have taken the employee to drive to work during a regular workday. The rationale is that the employee should not have to be compensated for the time he or she would have spent traveling to and from work on a regular workday.

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