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October 13, 2010
Travel Time in an Employer-Owned Vehicle

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 explained the degree to which travel time may be compensable when the employee travels in an employer-owned vehicle.

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  • The Portal to Portal Act provides that travel between home and work in a company-owned vehicle is not paid work time as long as the travel is within the normal commuting area for the employer's business, and the use of the vehicle is subject to an agreement between the employer and the employee or the employee's representative (29 USC 254(a)). This exception also applies to time spent in activities incidental to the use of the vehicle for commuting (such as stopping for gas).
  • According to a Department of Labor Opinion Letter, commuting time in the employer's vehicle is not paid work time if: (1) commuting in the employer's vehicle is strictly voluntary and not a condition of employment; (2) the vehicle involved is the type of vehicle that would normally be used for commuting; (3) the employee incurs no costs for driving the employer's vehicle or parking it at the employee's home or elsewhere; and (4) the worksites are within the normal commuting area of the employer's establishment.

Employers may agree to pay for ordinary commuting time. However, such time does not have to be counted as hours worked and is not subject to the minimum wage and overtime requirements.

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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