Overview: Do employers have to pay employees for time they spend travelling? The answer, as with most things involving Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations, is: it depends.
Time an employee spends commuting to work in the morning and returning home in the evening normally does not count as hours worked. But if the employee is required to perform work-related duties, such as picking up some important papers on the way to the office, then the rest of the commute suddenly becomes compensable.
Similar complexities come into play with other forms of travel, including special one-day assignments in another location and overnight travel away from home.
Trends: Smart phones and other new technologies make it easier than ever for employees to perform work-related duties during their commutes. HR should closely monitor this possibility to ensure commutes do not become compensable working time.
Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect forthcoming local working time requirements under the New York City Fair Work Practices ordinances.
Updated to reflect new working time requirements under the Seattle Secure Scheduling Ordinance, effective July 1, 2017.
Updated to reflect a new law exempting domestic employees from the state's day of rest law, effective January 1, 2017.
Updated to reflect information on a federal appeals court's ruling that employers have an obligation to exercise 'reasonable diligence' to find out whether their employees are working off the clock.
Updated to refine the scope of coverage to include only breastfeeding break laws that apply to private employers.
California employers seeking to provide employees with an overview of its business travel and reimbursement policy and to help maintain reasonable limits on business expenses should consider including this model poilcy statement in their handbook.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Massachusetts employment law in respect to hours worked.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Minnesota employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to Hours Worked.
HR guidance on complying with the FLSA requirements for employee travel time.