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Must we ever pay for long commuting time?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. An employee’s workday begins at a site location, which could be an hour or more from his home. There is no other “corporate office” location. It is my understanding that travel time to work (wherever that may be) is not compensable. Is that always true? What if that first work location is a long way from home?

A. The general rule is that travel from work location to work location during the workday is compensable. But travel from home to work and work to home is not, regardless of the distance. The rule comes from the Portal to Portal Act, which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act.

If the employee worked from a corporate office location and had to drive from home directly to a first assignment that passed that location, the time spent in commuting past the normal time it took to get to work might be compensable. However, you note that there is no corporate office location nearby.

The only exception (as a matter of federal law) that might occasionally apply to your workers involves travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight that cuts across the employee’s workday. Read more advice on the issue.

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