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Jan08

Company Trucks and Gas Cards

If an employee has a company truck are we required to reimburse travel time to a job location? How do you fiqure the amount that is owed to the employee? Should a employee have a company truck, do we need to supply the gas?

This is a very complex question,and it would be much easier to answer if you would post another question with more details. First of all, there are two basic issues: Is the employee entitled to payment for drive time? And, must the company supply gas? The answers will depend upon the circumstances. The relevant law here is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA.

The answer depends upon why the employee is being permitted to use the company truck. If an employee taking a company truck home at night is optional, and the employee is permitted to do so for his or her convenience, then the employee may not be entitled to payment for their normal morning and evening commute.
Suppose Randy, a plumber, drives a plumbing company truck all day. Randy is a trusted employee and instead of requiring him to park the truck at the office each evening, and drive his own vehicle home, Randys employer permits him to drive the company truck directly home. However, this is entirely optional and if Randy wanted to park the truck at the office, he could. Randy need not be paid to drive the truck to and from the office each morning. This is considered Randys normal commute (and, he can be required to supply the gas for his personal use, in most states.)

Once Randy gets to the office each morning, he must be paid for any time spent driving between worksites. The employer must also pay for the gas used. Once Randy leaves the final worksite of the day, if he goes directly home without stopping at the office, that is also part of Randys normal commute. He is not entitled to payment for that portion of the days driving.

Be aware, however, that this rule does not apply to all types of vehicles. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor determined that when an employee took a huge well-drilling truck home, even though it was for his own convenience, he was entitled to payment for every minute spent driving it.

Also, if there is no company office, and the first worksite of the day (or the last worksite of the day) is outside the normal commuting area, the employee must be paid for the drive.

However, if the employee is taking the company truck home for the employers convenience, then in many cases he must be paid for the entire drive time. Suppose Randys employer requires him to take the truck home because Randy is on call in the evenings for plumbing emergencies. Having the truck at his home makes him able to respond much faster. In that case, Randy must be paid for all the time spent driving the truck, even to and from his home, and the employer should pay for all the gas. One test is, if Randy is required to take the truck home — it is not optional — then he is entitled to payment for the drive.

If the employee is transporting other workers, or tools, equipment or supplies for the company, than the employee must generally be paid for that travel time. Example: Randy and Joe live in the same block. At the employers request, Randy drives Joe to the worksite each morning in the company truck. Randy must be paid for the drive, although Joe is not entitled to payment for his time as passenger.

Also be aware that a number of states have laws that might change this answer. In California, for example, employers must reimburse employees for all business-related expenses. In that case, the employer would likely be required to pay for all the gas for the company truck.

Read more about the FLSA and travel time at: http://www.dol.gov/esa/WHD/regs/compliance/whdfs22.pdf

Feel free to post a question with more details for a more specific answer.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 3:47 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management, Labor Laws.
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3 Responses to “Company Trucks and Gas Cards”

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  2. shannon watches Says:

    Good post, I can’t say that I agree with everything that was said, but very good information overall:)

  3. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Shannon!~ Catilin

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