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Nov09

Ohio Travel Time and FLSA

In Ohio, what are the rules regarding travel time? Does and employee need to be paid for driving from one job site to another during the day?

Employees should be paid for time spent driving from one site to another during the work day. But employers don’t generally have to pay for time spent commuting from home to the first work site of the day.

There is a significant exception to these rules, however. The employer is required to pay for travel time to the first job site of any given day if the sit is outside what is referred to as the worker’s “normal commuting area.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, commonly known as the FLSA, covers all of the regulations regarding travel time. This is the same law that sets the minimum wage. It also requires that employees who work more than 40 hours a week must receive overtime.

The term “normal commuting area” is an ambiguous one. Unfortunately, the FLSA does not offer a definition. Neither does the enforcing agency, which is the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Normal commuting area” will be different in a large metropolitan region than in a small community. As an example, a 60-mile commute across the Chicago greater metropolitan area may be considered “normal.” But a 20-mile drive between Manitowoc and Sheboygan, Wisconsin may be considered outside the “normal commuting area.”

There is another exception to the rules. If the job demands that a worker must travel to the first site of the day in a distant location – another city, for example – on a one-day work assignment, the employee must be paid for travel time. However, an employer is legally allowed to deduct what might be called the worker’s usual commuting time when compensating for commutes from home to special work sites. In other words, assume that a worker normally drives 30 minutes to work. The special assignment requires a 60-minute commute. The employer can subtract the 30 minutes of usual commuting time, and legally compensate for the 30 extra minutes.

The rules apply whether a company car or a personal car is used for traveling between job sites. Special rules apply for overnight travel. JH

This entry was posted on Friday, November 9th, 2007 at 11:02 pm and is filed under
Compensation, Labor Laws.
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