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October 13, 2010
Is Travel Time Compensable?

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 time is compensable.

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The key issue in many instances is whether an employee is engaged in travel as part of the employer's principal activity or for the convenience of the employer. If so, then that time is probably compensable in many causes because it's "work time."

  • Work time is the time an employee "suffers or is permitted" to work.
  • Work time is work not requested but suffered or permitted.
  • Work time means all of the time that employees spend working for an employer.
  • Work time is any time that employees spend that primarily benefits their employers -- directly or indirectly.
  • Work time includes time spent even if an employee is not doing work but is under the control of the employer.

There are four key questions to ask:

  • Which employees will be required to travel -- salaried, hourly or union? The rules apply to non-exempt employees.
  • Who will approve pay for travel?
  • Who can make exceptions to the rules concerning work-related travel?
  • How will employees be told they need to travel?

It's important to ask these questions and be certain the company is in compliance because all it takes is one complaint to the Department of Labor (DOL) and the potential for a class-action suit exists.

Mark E. Tabakman, Esq. is a partner in the nationwide law firm Fox Rothschild, LLP (www.foxrothschild.com). 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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