Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do you know? Compensation for travel time

Do you have employees that travel for work? Do you know that only certain travel time may be considered compensable and therefore paid for? As a general rule, time spent traveling from home to work and back again to home does not have to be compensated.

Like all rules, however, there are exceptions.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 work day runs from 8 am to 5 pm, only out-of-town travel during those hours must be paid. This rule applies whether the travel occurs on a regular work day or a normal day off. So, if the same employee travels during regular work hours on a Sunday, but regularly has Sunday off, the time must still be paid.
  3. Out-of-town travel that is completed all in one day receives different treatment. The employee is compensated for the travel from home to the out-of-town worksite, 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 work day.