Travel Time: Important guidance for when employees should be paid

Determining whether time spent in travel is compensable time or not, will depend on the kind of travel involved.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), travel time that is part of an employee’s principal job activity should be paid. This includes traveling from job site to job site during the workday, or if employees are required to “check in” at their employer’s location after completing their work at the end of the day. This also includes time when employees must report to a designated place to pick up or drop off equipment, and then drive to a worksite.

Time spent in traveling to and returning from another city for a special project is considered work time; however, in this instance the employer may deduct the time the employee would normally spend commuting to the regular worksite to determine the compensable work time.

Overnight travel that keeps an employee away from home is considered work time when it cuts across an employee’s workday. Additionally, compensable time is not only the hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours, but also during equivalent hours on non-working days.

Normal commuting time between worker’s home and office or jobsite is considered ordinary travel and does not have to paid under law.

These rules can be complex and hard to apply the rules to certain situations. Feel free to call our office and ask for your tax advisor to assist you with these compensation rules.