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Travel Reimbursement

We are company located in Wisconsin. We have an hourly employee we would like to send to our other locations in several states to train the employees how to utilize a computer program we are implementing. How would they be paid? Do they get paid for all the travel time – we are talking traveling basically cross country within a two week time frame. How would we be able to track overtime? Can we pay her a lump sum training fee to take on the project?

You absolutely, positively cannot pay this employee a lump sum to perform all the training. That would be a conspiracy to avoid paying overtime. U.S. Department of Labor regulations on travel time for hourly employees  are extremely complex, but we can provide an overview.

Essentially, this employee must be paid for every hour she works while on the road. If she is conducting a training session until 10 pm, she must be paid until 10 pm. Driving counts as work time. In many cases, meals with coworkers or clients also count as work time.

The employee must be paid for any travel that occurs during her normal working hours. Suppose she usually works 8 am to 4 pm, 5 days per week. This employee must be paid for all travel that occurs between 8 am and 4 pm, 7 days per week. This includes being a passenger on a plane, bus, taxi, etc. and even includes time spent waiting, such as waiting for a plane at an airport.

You need not pay the employee for travel time as a passenger in a plane, car or train that occurs outside the employees normal work hours. In the example above, it the employee who normally works 8 am to 4 pm boards a two-hour flight at 10 pm, there is no need to pay her for that time.

You absolutely must pay overtime when the employee works more than 40 hours per week, with work and travel time combined. You will track overtime by giving the employee a weekly time sheet to fill out. If you do not have enough faith in this employees integrity to trust her with a time sheet, you should send someone else to do the training.

It would be far simpler to send an exempt empoyee to do the training.  

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010 at 7:49 am and is filed under
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