Travel Time laws & compensation compliance analysis

Travel Time: What you need to know

The key to identifying whether travel time during the workday is compensable is determining whether the employees are engaged in travel as part of the employer's principal activity or for the convenience of the employer. Whether time spent traveling is paid work time for nonexempt employees depends on the type of travel involved. Travel time that is work time is subject to both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
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The Portal-to-Portal Act provides that traveling to and from where work is performed at the beginning and end of the workday is not work time (29 USC 251 to 262). Other travel time associated with an individual's performance of his or her job is paid work time. This seems like a simple distinction, but in fact, there are many cloudy areas, some of which are clarified in regulations issued by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) (29 CFR 785.33 to 785.41).
Normal travel from home to work is not work time. This is true whether the employee works at a fixed location or at different jobsites (29 CFR 785.35). Commuting includes the time spent walking from the parking lot to the worksite. If an employee has to report to a central meeting site to pick up equipment, supplies, an itinerary, instructions, or coworkers, work time starts at that location.
When an employee has gone home after completing his or her day's work and is subsequently called out at night to travel a substantial distance to perform an emergency job for one of the employer's customers, all time spent traveling is work time (29 CFR 785.36). However, the Wage and Hour Division has not addressed whether travel to ...

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