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Two kinds of travel time are important under the FLSA compensation rules: (1) travel that occurs during the work day near the community where the work is conducted, and (2) out of town trips. The FLSA provides different rules for each type of travel.
Typically, travel to and from work is not compensable work time unless expressly stated in the employment contract. However, depending on when the traveling occurs and where the travel occurs, the time may be compensable.
If a worksite location regularly changes, travel to and from that worksite during regular work hours is not compensable. However, if the travel to the non-regular worksite occurs outside of regular work hours, that travel time is compensable. Thus, compensation is required for travel time to and from work for on-call workers who go on a call during non-regular work hours.
Time spent traveling between jobsites during a work day is compensable time. If an employee reports to a central work location before traveling to satellite worksites, the time spent traveling to the satellite worksites may be compensable. This depends on whether the employer requires the employee to be present at the central location and if the employee engages in employment activities while at the central location. If an employer is merely giving employees the option of meeting at the central location for travel purposes to the jobsites, the travel time is not compensable. If the employer requires employees to arrive at the central location before transitioning to the jobsite or if work such as briefings, supply management, or the like takes place, then the travel time between the central location and the work site is compensable.
Same day travel to another city is compensable time if the employee normally travels to a fixed worksite. However, same day travel to another city for employees who have no fixed worksite may not be compensable.
Travel time for an extended trip is compensable if it occurs during the normal working hours any day of the week. For example, if an employee typically works from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and he or she travels on Saturday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., the time spent traveling from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. is compensable work time and the rest of the time is not. If the employee is using rail or air travel, the commute from the home to the airport or rail station is not considered compensable time, as it is considered regular to and from work travel.
If an employee chooses to travel in a slower mode than was suggested by his or her employer, the employer is only obligated to compensate for the time that would have been spent traveling in the suggested mode of travel. Any work performed during travel time is compensable work time, regardless of the mode of travel or time in which the work was performed.
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