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Must we pay workers’ weekend travel time to new location?

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Q. We are closing one facility and laying off a large number of workers. In lieu of immediate layoffs, however, we want to temporarily transfer some maintenance employees from another facility 800 miles away. They have agreed to perform this work, which will take about three months. Do we have to pay them for the time spent traveling to the new work location, which will occur over a weekend?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the time spent by a nonexempt employee traveling away from home on an overnight trip must be counted as hours worked if the hours of travel are within the employee’s regularly scheduled working time. This is true even if they travel on a weekend when the employees would not ordinarily be working.

For example, if an employee normally works from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, he would still be entitled to pay for any travel time between those hours even on a Saturday or Sunday. Time spent traveling outside of normal working hours as a passenger on an airplane (assuming no work is performed in transit) is not considered hours worked.

Thus, if the employees travel to the other facility during hours they are normally scheduled to work, the time must be paid even though it occurs on a weekend.

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