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October 13, 2010
Compensable Travel During Regular Work Time

In a BLR webinar entitled "Travel Pay: Proven Strategies for Avoiding the Next Big Wave of Wage and Hour Lawsuits," Mark E. Tabakman, Esq., partner in the nationwide law firm Fox Rothschild, LLP addressed the question of whether or not travel during regular work hours is compensable as work time.

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  • Time that an employee spends traveling as part of his or her principal activity, such as travel from jobsite to jobsite during the workday, must be counted as hours worked. Where an employee is required to report at a meeting place to receive instructions, pick up tools, or to perform other work there, the travel from the designated place to the workplace is part of the day's work and must be counted as hours worked regardless of contract or custom (29 CFR 785.38).
  • For example, if an employee normally finishes his work on the premises at 5 p.m. and is sent to another job, which he finishes at 8 p.m., and is required to return to his employer's premises, arriving at 9 p.m., all of the time is work time. However, if the employee goes home instead of returning to his employer's premises, the travel after 8 p.m. is home-to-work travel and is not hours worked.
  • Any work that an employee is required to perform while traveling must, of course, be counted as hours worked. An employee who drives a truck, bus, car, boat, or airplane, or an employee who is required to ride as an assistant or helper, is working while riding. But the employer need not pay for meal periods or time when the employee is permitted to sleep in adequate facilities furnished by the employer (29 CFR 785.41).

Mark E. Tabakman, Esq. is a partner in the nationwide law firm Fox Rothschild, LLP ( He advises clients throughout the country on all aspects of labor relations and employment law, as well as the development of corporate employment policies. Also, he publishes and maintains a wage-hour blog to provide the latest information and observations on new developments in wage-hour law.

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