Travel Time: To Pay or Not to Pay?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Portal-to-Portal Act (FLSA amendment), regular travel from home to work and work to home does not count as worked time. This is true even if the work location is not fixed. However, if you require the employees to report to a central location and then travel to the work site, the time between the central site and work site would be considered worked time and subject to compensation. If the reason the employee must report first to a central site is to clock in…provide them a way to clock in via phone or the internet when they arrive at the work site. Some Time & Attendance software systems provide remote clocking as an option.

Travel time that IS considered compensable for hours worked, is travel that is a regular part of the worker’s daily duties. This includes travel to different job sites during the workday or driving from customer to customer. Time spent by an employee writing a report is considered work time, even if it happens to occur while the employee is riding on public transportation to and from home.

What about travel away from home whether it’s drivable distance to be able to return to the employee’s home after work is completed or if it results in an overnight trip? Typically, all travel time during day trips would be compensable, except meal periods. But travel between the employee’s home and a bus, train or airport would not be considered work time because that is considered work-to-home time. If the employee uses his or her own automobile rather than public transportation for travel away from home, the employer can count as hours worked either the time spent driving or the time that would have been spent on public transportation during regular working hours. If the trip is an out of town trip and requires an overnight stay, then you count all travel time during the employee’s normal working hours, even if it occurs on a non-working day.  Travel outside of regular working hours as a passenger on public transportation is not hours worked.

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