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 wage and hour rules as it relates to travel time, specifically commuting to a regular job site and commuting to an emergency situation.
In relation to a regular jobsite:
- Normal travel from home to work is not work time. This is true whether the employee works at a fixed location or at different jobsites (29 CFR 785.35). Commuting includes the time spent walking from the parking lot to the worksite. If an employee has to report to a central meeting site to pick up equipment, supplies, or co-workers, or to get instructions, work time starts at that location.
In relation to emergency situations:
- When an employee has gone home after completing his or her day's work and is subsequently called out at night to travel a substantial distance to perform an emergency job for one of the employer's customers, all time spent traveling is work time (29 CFR 785.36). However, the Wage and Hour Division has not addressed whether travel to and from the regular workplace in an emergency after hours is work time.
- Remember: Travel time wages paid by an employer for calling an employee back to work must be included in the calculations of hours worked for purposes of paying overtime.
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 (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.