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Human Resources


Compensation | Travel Time


Travel Time

Required Pay for Non-Exempt Employees under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act)


This document is provided to assist with determining when non-exempt employees are to be paid for travel time, whether on campus, during the course of a single day, or overnight. If you are uncertain as to what should be reported as hours worked after reading this information, call or email the Human Resources Compensation contact for assistance.

Section Number: 785.39 Travel away from home community.

Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight is travel away from home. Travel away from home is clearly work time when it cuts across the employee's workday. The employee is simply substituting travel for other duties. The time is not only hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours but also during the corresponding hours on nonworking days. Thus, if an employee regularly works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday the travel time during these hours is work time on Saturday and Sunday as well as on the other days. Regular meal period time is not counted. As an enforcement policy the Division will not consider as work time that time spent in travel away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile.

Section Number: 785.41 Work performed while traveling.

Any work that an employee is required to perform while traveling must be counted as hours worked. An employee who drives a truck, bus, automobile, boat or airplane, or an employee who is required to ride therein as an assistant or helper, is working while riding, except during bona fide meal periods or when he is permitted to sleep in adequate facilities furnished by the employer.

Question

If an employee is driving the car and traveling overnight, what rules apply when determining which hours are compensable? Does it matter if the hours the employee drives are outside his/her regular work schedule?

Answer

If the employee is driving the vehicle, then it is considered work on behalf of the employer and therefore is compensable, regardless of the regular work schedule.

 

Section Number: 785.41 Work performed while traveling.

Any work that an employee is required to perform while traveling must be counted as hours worked. An employee who drives a truck, bus, automobile, boat or airplane, or an employee who is required to ride therein as an assistant or helper, is working while riding, except during bona fide meal periods or when he is permitted to sleep in adequate facilities furnished by the employer.


Question

If an employee prefers to drive back and forth each day from a week long conference, and the employer prefers the employee stay overnight, must the employer compensate for travel time that is within the employee’s regular work schedule?

Answer

Since this is not employer-mandated travel (the drive back/forth between the conference and home), and in this case since the employee elects to drive back/forth, it can be considered normal home-to-work commute and therefore is non-compensable.

Question

What hours are considered compensable at a conference where breakfast and lunch are served and there are mixers and other social gatherings in the evening?

Answer

If an employee is required to attend these meals as part of their job, then they become compensable. If the employee is attending and clearly knows the function is an option, and is not required, then it is non-compensable.

Question

When an employee travels to a seminar, are hours waiting at the airport for a flight considered compensable? Also, once the employee is at the seminar, how do you determine what hours are compensable and does the employee’s regular work schedule have any relevance to this determination?

Answer

It depends on whether or not the time spent waiting at the airport cuts across the employee’s normal work schedule. For instance, if hours waiting at the airport occur between 9:30 - 11:30 a.m., then both Sam and Pete (see example at end) are eligible for compensation. In addition, any hours an employee works while waiting are compensable.

Section Number: 785.39 Travel away from home community.

Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight is travel away from home. Travel away from home is clearly work time when it cuts across the employee's workday. The employee is simply substituting travel for other duties. The time is not only hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours but also during the corresponding hours on nonworking days. Thus, if an employee regularly works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday the travel time during these hours is work time on Saturday and Sunday as well as on the other days. Regular meal period time is not counted. As an enforcement policy the Division will not consider as work time that time spent in travel away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile.


Questions

- If a one-day seminar is out of town, and an employee travels (driving themselves) within his or her regular work hours, what time is compensable?

- If a one-day seminar is out of town, and the employee travels outside of his or her regular work hours to the seminar, driving themselves, what time is compensable?

- If the same employee is a passenger in a vehicle, what time is compensable?

Answer

The following Section Number 785.37 applies to all three questions above regarding travel in one day. In each case, the time spent by the employee is compensable as it is at the employer’s will. The employee’s regular work schedule is not relevant for one-day travel.

 

Section Number: 785.37 Home to work on special one-day assignment in another city.

problem arises when an employee who regularly works at a fixed location in one city is given a special one-day work assignment in another city. For example, an employee who works in Washington, D.C., with regular working hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. may be given a special assignment in New York City, with instructions to leave Washington at 8 a.m. He arrives in New York at noon, ready for work. The special assignment is completed at 3 p.m., and the employee arrives back in Washington at 7 p.m. Such travel cannot be regarded as ordinary home-to-work travel occasioned merely by the fact of employment. It was performed for the employer's benefit and at his special request to meet the needs of the particular and unusual assignment. It would thus qualify as an integral part of the "principal'' activity that the employee was hired to perform on the workday in question; it is like travel involved in an emergency call (described in Sec. 785.36), or travel that is all in the day's work (see Sec. 785.38). All the time involved, however, need not be counted. Since, except for the special assignment, the employee would have had to report to his regular work site, the travel between his home and the railroad depot may be deducted, it being in the "home-to-work'' category. Also, of course, the usual meal time would be deductible.


Question

What travel time is counted toward hours worked when a person travels on a regular non-work day or on the weekend?

Example: Sam and Pete leave for a conference on Monday at 7 a.m. and arrive at 9 a.m. They return the following Saturday traveling from 5-7 p.m. Both employees are passengers. Conference hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. What time is counted as hours worked?

Regular work schedule

Employee Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
Sam 7-6 (1 hr lunch) 7-6 (1 hr lunch) 7-6 (1 hr lunch) 7-6 (1 hr lunch)      
Pete 9-5:30 (1 hr lunch) 8-5:30-6 (1 hr lunch) 8-5 (1 hr lunch) 8-5 (1 hr lunch) 8-5 (1 hr lunch)    

 

Answer

Sam – travel time paid for Monday 7-9 a.m. and Saturday 5-6 p.m.
Pete – travel time paid Saturday 5-5:30 p.m.
Both Sam’s and Pete’s time spent attending the conference from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. are compensable, less lunch (if they are not required to attend the lunch). For Pete, Monday’s travel time is not compensable as the travel occurred before his regular work schedule starts.

 

Compensation Contact

Jane Allen

Senior Human Resources Specialist

allenja@umkc.edu
816-235-6670