Our employees meet at our shop @ 7:00 a.m. and they are paid from that point to perform lawn mowing services throughout the day. We end the day at the last lawn mowing job and head back to the shop. Are we, by law, supposed to pay employees to commute back to the shop?
Yes, if the employee is required to return to the shop at the end of the day, the employee is entitled to compensation for that return trip. This would be true, even if the employee were driving his or her own vehicle or riding in a vehicle driven by someone else.
In addition, keep in mind that driving is usually considered work under the law. Generally, you must pay the employee for performing this work for you.
Some employers permit the employee to drive the company truck home from the last stop of the day, for the employees convenience. In that case, the employee is not entitled to compensation for the drive from the office (or from the last stop of the day) to the home. But an employee is always entitled to payment for time spent traveling from the last stop of the day back to the office.
Also be aware that if this puts the employees over 40 hours in the payroll week, they are entitled to overtime
You are using the word commute inaccurately. Under the legal definition, a commute is a trip to or from the employees home — not a trip to or from your office. Generally you need not pay the employee for the commute from their home to your office, or the commute from your office to the employees home.
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