TRAVEL: DETERMINING COMPENSABLE TIME FOR NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEES or SALARIED EMPLOYEES WHO ARE COMP TIME ELIGIBLE
January 1, 2020
The purpose of this policy is to outline pay rules that apply to nonexempt employees (or those that are salaried but comp time eligible) when traveling on company business.
Employees in positions classified as nonexempt (or those that are salaried but comp time eligible) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may be eligible for compensation for the time they spend traveling. The compensation the employee receives depends on the kind of travel and whether the travel time takes place within regular work hours.
“Regular work hours,” for the purposes of this policy, are defined as an employee’s regularly scheduled work hours (e.g. 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). This definition applies to regular workdays (Monday through Friday) and to weekends (Saturday and Sunday). Employees with variable work hours will have their regular works hours defined by Human Resources prior to travel, based on a review of time records over the previous month.
HOME TO WORK TRAVEL – In general, the FLSA does not consider ordinary commuting from home to work as hours worked. Ordinary commute time is not compensable.
TRAVEL DURING THE WORK DAY/IN-TOWN – In general time spent by an employee traveling as part of his or her regular job duties, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and will be compensable. Ordinary commute time is not compensable.
- Talking on a phone, running errands (e.g., picking up supplies) while traveling from home to work or vice versa is considered compensable if it is work related.
OVERNIGHT TRAVEL/TRAVEL AWAY FROM HOME – In general, whether travel time counts as hours worked when an employee travels overnight, depends on whether the travel occurs within the employee’s regular work schedule. Travel time that occurs within the employee’s regular work schedule is compensable.
- Any portion of authorized travel occuring within an employee’s regular work schedule will be paid as hours worked. Travel on non-work days (like weekends) will be paid as hours worked if travel occurs within the employee’s regular work schedule.
- Driving a vehicle, regardless of whether the travel takes place during or outside regular work hours, will be paid as hours worked.
- If an employee is required to attend meals, social events, etc., that time will be paid as hours worked.
- Time spent waiting at the airport will be paid as hours worked if it occurs within regular work hours.
- Any work while traveling, which an employee is required to perform, is considered as hours worked (e.g., answering e-mails, taking business related phone calls.)
- If an employee is required to ride as an assistant or helper in an automobile, the travel time counts as hours worked. Example: If an employee travels as an assistant or helper and they are expected to perform services as needed, the employee is working even though traveling outside of the employee’s regular work hours. An example might be an administrative assistant who is traveling with their supervisor and reviewing materials for a meeting as they drive. If the employee is not expected to provide any assistance or help and is free to nap, read, etc., the time would not count as hours worked if it falls outside the employee’s regular work day.
- Regular meal periods do not count as hours worked.
- Riding as a passenger outside of regular work hours, via airplane, train, boat, bus or automobile will not be paid as hours worked. In other words, the act of riding as a passenger is not considered work.
- Time spent sleeping will not be paid as hours worked.
- Time spent waiting at the airport outside of regular work hours is not considered working.
- When an employee travels between two or more time zones, the time zone associated with the point of departure should be used to determine whether the travel falls within regular work hours.
- If an employee drives a car as a matter of personal preference when an authorized flight or other travel mode is available and the travel by car would exceed that of the authorized mode, only the estimated travel time associated with the authorized mode will be paid as hours worked.
- If the employer provides hotel accommodations for overnight travel but the employee wishes to drive back home each evening, this time is not considered as hours worked.
- On days when an employee is out of town (but not traveling), the employee is compensated for hours worked such as attending a conference or a meeting. The employee is not compensated for time not working even if it occurs within the employee’s regular work schedule (e.g., employee goes sightseeing instead of attending a session of the conference or the conference sessions are only from 9 – 4).
SAME DAY TRAVEL/OUT-OF-TOWN – In general time spent traveling out-of-town and returning in the same day, counts as hours worked without regard to whether the employee is driving or riding as a passenger and without regard to whether the travel occurs within the employee’s regular work schedule.
- Time spent traveling to and from a one day seminar, conference, meeting, etc. will be paid as hours worked.
- Regular meal periods do not count as hours worked.