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October 13, 2010
Basic Rules Regarding Travel 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 described five basic rules for determining whether or not travel time is compensable:

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  • Basic Rule Number One: The time employees spend commuting to and from their regular place of work each day is not work time, so employers do not have to pay employees for this time.
  • Basic Rule Number Two: Work time does include time spent traveling to another location for a special assignment, substantial travel for an emergency outside the normal working hours, and time spent traveling during regular work hours as part of the employee’s principal job duties
  • Basic Rule Number Three: If an employee reports to a central location to pick up equipment before proceeding to his or her assigned worksite, the time spent traveling to the central location is not work time. The time spent traveling to the assigned worksite is work time.
  • Basic Rule Number Four: Overnight travel or travel away from home is work time when it cuts across the employee’s normal workday and/or requires the employee to work on weekends or days when he or she would not otherwise be required to work.
  • Basic Rule Number Five: Regular meal periods and time spent sleeping or in other leisure activities while traveling is not work time, and the employer does not have to pay the employee for this time.

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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