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Travel Time

We have a part-time employee who we want to send to a training (as a perk not as a job requirement) and the training is in another city. The training is M,T,W. We will fly them up Sunday evening and return Wednesday evening. When we pay for the flight there and back along with the hotel and per diem and 8 hours for each day of the training are we required to also pay the employee at their hourly wage for travel time at the airport, on the plane and wait time both there and back?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes compensation requirements for employees.

Per the FLSA, when an employee is a passenger in a car, plane, bus, boat or train, only the travel time that occurs during his regular work schedule must be paid. This time includes travel hours that correspond to t​he employee’s normal work hours even if travel falls on a day an employee doesn’t normally work like a weekend. If the employee performs any work while a passenger, then the time spent working must be paid regardless of the whether the work was performed during the employee’s normal work hours.

When an employee drives all the time spent driving is considered compensable work time. However, if the employee has the option to use public transportation and chooses to drive instead, the employer may pay either the travel time or only the travel hours that occur during an employee’s normal work schedule, again regardless of whether the travel falls on a day an employee doesn’t normally work like a weekend.

The FLSA doesn’t require employees to be paid their normal hourly rate for travel time. So, the employee can receive a lower hourly rate for the travel time. However, there are few things to consider when doing this.

The lower hourly rate must still meet the minimum wage requirements established under either federal or state laws, whichever is higher. And, the employee must be notified in advance of the travel rate (some states require this noting in writing).

When paying different rates it’s important to ensure the employee is being compensated appropriately. It can be difficult to determine exactly which hours are travel time and which hours are regular work time since it’s common for employees to work when their passengers during travel. Anytime the employee spends working during the travel must be paid at their normal rate.

The most complicated result of paying a non-exempt employee different rates is the calculation of overtime. The FLSA requires non-exempt employees to be paid an overtime rate of at least one and a half times their regular rate of pay for any time worked over 40 in a given week. Some states have daily overtime rates. The calculation of the overtime rate for an employee with one regular rate of pay is fairly simple; however, with different rates of pay a blended rate using the weighted average must be used.


This entry was posted on Sunday, May 28th, 2017 at 1:10 pm and is filed under
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