Hours Worked: Travel Time

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Can I Be Compensated for Traveling for Work?

Most people would like to travel for vacation, not work. Yet, with the increasing globalization of the economy, travel is an important and necessary part of many employees’ jobs. Accordingly, “hours worked” for purposes of compensation generally applies to time spent traveling for your employer. 

What Kind of Travel Time Can I Expect to Be Compensated For?

Travel time is discussed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 29, Sections 785.33-785.41. The CFR divides travel time into three basic types:

Commute Time
Time spent traveling from work to home and from home to work is not part of “hours worked.” CFR calls this a “normal incident of employment.” However, if an employee is called back out to work after having returned home in the case of an emergency, travel time is included in "hours worked." The time spent traveling from home to a special one-day site is also included, minus the typical commute time.

Time Traveling between Worksites
Time spent going between worksites all in one day is included in “hours worked.” If the employee works late and returns to her work at 9pm, all of this transport time is included. However, if the employee goes directly home from the other worksite, the time traveling between the other worksite and home is viewed as a commute and does not count. 

Travel Away from Home Community
If the employee is traveling away from home, the time spent traveling within usual working hours will be included in “hours worked.” However, time spent traveling outside of working hours will not. Sleep and meal time will also not constitute “hours worked” while away from home.

Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me Obtain Compensation for Travel Time?

If your travel time for work qualifies as being part of your "hours worked" according to the Code of Federal Regulations, then your employer is obligated to compensate you for that travel. If your employer refuses to do so, then an employment lawyer can help you assert your right to those unpaid wages. An employment attorney will also be able to assist you if you are not being paid for other travel time that your employer had promised to pay you for.

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Last Modified: 01-07-2015 11:06 AM PST

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