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February 1, 2012

FLSA Question of the Week – How Do We Handle Travel Time?

With the increased focus on Wage and Hour issues by the Department of Labor, I thought it might be helpful to post a few blogs regarding common FLSA questions.  Today’s question regards travel time, which is one of those areas that seems to pop up every now and then.

How do we handle travel time?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determining whether travel time is considered “hours worked” (and nonexempt employees must be paid) is often confusing and may depend upon the type of travel involved.

Ordinary Home to Work Travel. Normal travel from home to work is not work time, whether an employee works at a fixed site or at different job sites.

Special Home to Work Assignments. Travel in which an employee who regularly works at a fixed location is given a special assignment to work at a different location is not ordinary work travel. Such travel is considered work time. However, the employee’s normal home to work travel time may be deducted from the work time, as she would have had to go to work anyway.

Daily Work Travel. Time spent traveling as part of an employee’s principal job activities, such as from job site to job site during the work day is considered “hours worked.”

Overnight Travel. Travel away from home is work time when it cuts across the employee’s workday. Travel on non-working days is also considered “hours worked” if it occurs during normal working hours. For example, if an employee normally works from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday, the travel time during these hours is also considered work time on Saturday and Sunday.

Travel during non-work hours is not considered “hours worked” unless the employee is actually performing work while traveling. Time spent in travel away from home outside of normal working hours as an airplane, train, bus, or car passenger is not work time. However, an employee who drives a car, bus, or other means of transportation, or an employee required to assist her is considered to be working.

Remember that many states also address wage and hour issues and may impose stricter requirements beyond the FLSA.

If you have any specific FLSA questions you would like answered, please let us know by commenting on this blog.

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