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Sep22

Travel Pay

I have an hourly employee who works Monday thru Friday 7:30 to 4:15pm. I sent him over seas for a job. The flight was 23 hours long. He left on Monday morning at 9am and arrived in Burma on Tuesday at 8am. He then had a 3 hour ride in a cab to his hotel. He did not report to the work site until the next day. If I pay him 8 hours a day at his regular hourly rate for the travel days am I in compliance?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes guidelines for what constitutes compensable time for employees. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees must receive at least the minimum wage and time and one half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a given workweek.

Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight is considered travel away from home under the FLSA. Travel away from home is clearly work time when it cuts across the non-exempt employee’s regular work hours, regardless of what day of the week the travel takes place.

Any time spent on the plane outside of the employee’s regular work hours is not compensable unless, of course, the employee performs any work related duties. In that case, the employee is being compensated for work completed, not for the travel.

The time an employee spends traveling between his home and the airport is typically considered normal commuting time. Thus, it’s usually not counted as hours worked, even if the time occurs within the employee’s regular work hours.

So, assuming no deduction for a meal period, the employee is due 8.75 hours for day one since he was on the flight for the entire time he would normally be working. The employee is then due 3.5 hours for day two. If a meal period is normally deducted from the employee’s regular hours worked, the same can be done for travel time.

Now, choosing to pay the employee for time spent in the hotel on day 2 is completely up to you. Doing so is not required since the employee is able to use the time for personal matters. However, if the employee performs any work during this time, such time, of course, is considered compensable work time.

Lastly, remember all hours worked, including travel time, are counted towards the calculation of overtime in the workweek.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 at 7:12 pm and is filed under
Compensation, Labor Laws.
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