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How to Pay Hourly Employees Who Travel

Under FLSA  (Fair Labor Standards Act)  Travel Away from Home Community  means travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight.

The general rule is as follows: If travel keeps an employee away from home overnight, then the travel time is work time when it cuts across the employee’s typical workday because the employee is simply substituting travel for other duties.  Travel during regular working hours is almost always compensable whether the employee travels as a passenger or not. Once travel is complete and the employee is free to spend time for personal pursuits, the time is no longer considered compensable even if the employee must remain from home overnight.

However, if an employee travels outside of his regular working hours at the direction and on the business of the employer outside the home area, the time is traditionally compensable under FLSA – unless the employee travels by common carrier or otherwise as a passenger and does not perform work during travel time.

Here is some additional guidance:

  • Travel During Work Hours: Travel away from home is clearly work time for any  employee when it cuts across the employee’s workday, i.e. when the travel takes place during the normal workday. The employee is deemed to be simply substituting travel for other duties.
  • Travel During Work Hours on Non-Working Days: Travel away from home is also work time when employees travel during corresponding hours on typical nonworking days. As an example, when an employee with a regular 9 to 5 Monday through Friday work schedule travels out of town between 1 and 3 on Saturday, the Saturday hours are compensable.
  • Travel Outside Work Hours On Common Carriers: As an enforcement policy the Division will not consider as work time that time spent in travel away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile.
  • Travel Outside Work Hours in Company Vehicle: When an employee travels outside regular working hours at the direction and on the business of the employer outside the home area, the time is considered work time unless another exception applies, i.e. common carrier passenger.
  • Work Performed During Travel: Any work that your employee is required to perform while traveling must be counted as hours worked. This would include activities such as driving, mandatory reading, clerical work, acting as a tour guide, etc. Employees who drive a truck, bus, automobile, boat or airplane, or employees who are required to ride therein as an assistant or helper, are considered working while riding, except duringmeal periods or during sleep periods.

 

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