Understanding Travel Time Pay Rules for Hourly Employees
Travel Time Pay for Employees
For hourly employees who work in various locations, understanding when travel time counts as work time is crucial. The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) outlines specific rules for travel time, guiding compensation decisions for non-exempt employees, including overtime eligibility.
Travel Time to Work is Not Paid Time
When employees commute from home to an office or their initial job site, this is generally considered unpaid work time. Exceptions arise when employees stop at central locations, making travel between the central site and job sites compensable.
Employee Travel During the Day: The Continuous Workday Rule
Once employees arrive at central locations or their initial work sites, the workday commences. Any travel between sites within the same workday must be paid as FLSA travel time.
Tasks directly related to the principal job activity before or after work may also trigger the continuous workday rule. However, these tasks must be integral and substantial to the employee's primary work activity.
FLSA and Employee Waiting Time
For employees with breaks between assignments, whether the time is considered work hours depends on its length and the employee's freedom to use it for personal purposes, known as "waiting time" under the FLSA.
Employees Called Back to Work
Employees called back to work after returning home, such as for emergency customer calls, have their second travel from home to work considered compensable work time.
Different Pay Rates for Travel Time
Employers can legally pay different hourly rates for travel and service delivery, provided minimum wage laws are met. However, proper calculations for overtime, paid sick time, and vacation time must reflect the appropriate blend of these rates.
Navigating travel time pay can be complex, but our expertise ensures compliance with these regulations, preventing potential legal issues.
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