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Travel Pay for Contractor Jobs

We pay for travel if employees are required to stop by the shop first and if the travel in between job sites. Is travel pay applicable at any time if they are coming directly from their home to the job site? Job site locations vary depending on job.

Guidelines for compensable work time for non-exempt employees are established under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The general rule is any travel time that occurs during the employee’s normal work hours the time is compensable.

The DOL provides the following information regarding travel time:

Home to Work Travel: An employee who travels from home before the regular workday and returns to his/her home at the end of the workday is engaged in ordinary home to work travel, which is not work time.

Home to Work on a Special One Day Assignment in Another City: An employee who regularly works at a fixed location in one city is given a special one day assignment in another city and returns home the same day. The time spent in traveling to and returning from the other city is work time, except that the employer may deduct/not count that time the employee would normally spend commuting to the regular work site.

Travel That is All in a Day’s Work: Time spent by an employee in travel as part of their principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and must be counted as hours worked.

Travel Away from Home Community: Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight is travel away from home. Travel away from home is clearly work time when it cuts across the employee’s workday. The time is not only hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours but also during corresponding hours on nonworking days. As an enforcement policy the Division will not consider as work time that time spent in travel away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile.

So, you’re correct in compensating employees for travel time in between work sites and if they have to check in at the shop first.

Now, The FLSA doesn’t consider time spent traveling to and from work to be compensable work time. But when an employee doesn’t report to his office/shop it’s difficult to determine when the workday actually begins. So, it’s important to consider if any work responsibilities are conducted prior to the employee arriving at his first location and the distance of the first location from his home. If the employee does any work including checking emails, making phone calls, or inspecting a company vehicle, the time is compensable. Additionally, if the employee’s first stop is outside his typical commute, such time is also compensable.
Remember, compensable work time must be paid to the employee and counts towards the calculation of overtime for the workweek.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 at 7:35 pm and is filed under
Compensation, Labor Laws.
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