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Aug13

Travel Pay for Hourly Employee in Texas

In Texas, does an employer have to pay an hourly employee travel time? Example, if the employer needs the hourly employee to report for a day to a different company location in another city, should the employee be paid their hourly wage for travel time to that location? If so, is this in addition to any mileage reimbursement that is paid?

Under federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, employees must be paid for travel beyond the normal commuting area. Simply paying the employees mileage is not enough. Suppose Kelly normally drives 15 miles to work each day. One day, the employer requires Kelly to report to a city 75 miles away, for training. Kelly is almost certainly entitled to payment for the time spent traveling the extra 60 miles. She may be entitled to payment for the entire time, if the travel occurs during business hours and she is driving.

The US Department of Labor has developed an elaws advisor on this topic. This online questionaire helps employers determine when travel must be paid. Find more about it here: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/hoursworked/screenER49.asp

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 at 9:03 am and is filed under
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6 Responses to “Travel Pay for Hourly Employee in Texas”

  1. T Jones Says:

    I work from 8:00am to 4:40pm my Texas empolyer sent me out of state for training. They are saying that since my travel time falls outside of my normal core hours they are not required to pay me travel time. My flight back which was scheduled by my employer leaves at 8:00pm tonight and arrives back into Texas at 11:00pm but my training class is over at 5:00pm.

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi T! Unfortunately, yes, this is correct. Texas follows the federal law on travel time for hourly employees. Under that law, you must be paid for all the time you work while out of town — so if the meeting ends at 5 pm, you must be paid until 5 pm. (Meals with clients and driving also count as work time.)

    If you travel between 8 am and 4:40 pm on any day of the week, you must be paid for the travel time, including time spent waiting in an airport. However, a loophole in the federal FLSA permits an employer to not pay the employee for being a passenger in a plane, train or auto if the travel occurs outside of the employees regular work hours.

    We agree that this sucks — given the conditions on planes today, employees should be paid double for flying. But what your employer is doing is legal.HTH,and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  3. Homer Garcia Says:

    Instead of paying our hourly pay of 2 hours for travel time the company wants to pay $25.00 per diem instead. Can the company legaly do this?

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Homer! No, usually not. Per diem usually refers to money the employer gives the worker for meals and/or a hotel room when traveling out of town. If you are legally entitled to payment for travel time, the employer cannot avoid it by paying you a per diem. Contact the Texas Workforce Commission to see if you are entitled to payment. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  5. Heather Says:

    My Texas employer reqires me to attend meetings for networking at various times of day. He wants to pay me my hourly wage for the meetings however the time it takes me to drive there he wants only to pay me 0.40 on the mile (I use my own vehicle) instead of my hourly wage. Is this legal? So for example I have to go to a meeting 20 miles away stay for and hour then head back to the office. I get paid 0.40 for the 20 miles there and then get paid my wage for the hour I am there, 0.40 for the 20 miles to return.

  6. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Heather! No, this is probably not correct. If you are traveling from the office to the meeting site and back to the office, you should be paid for time in transit between the two worksites. Under the federal FLSA, this travel is “all in a days work” meaning it is paid work time.
    If you were at an all day meeting, and went directly from home to the meeting and returned home without stopping at the office, you would not be entitled to payment for the trip unless the meeting was in another city. If you boss refuses to pay you for this travel time, you should contact the TWC (Texas Workforce Commission) or the US Department of Labor. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlinb

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