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Kansas Travel Time

Posted by Tamara

As the saying goes, “It’s all in a day’s work.” If it is, in fact, all in a day’s work, it is subject to federal labor laws, even if it involves paid travel time.

Federal law is quite clear on the matter. All paid travel must be counted as work time.

There is paid travel time and there is unpaid travel time, however. Short commutes to work from home, and to home from work, for example, is unpaid travel time.

An employer from Kansas posed the question this way: if we have employees who drive from our main office to the worksite, can we avoid overtime by coding the travel time separately in our payroll system?

By now it should be clear that the answer is “no.”

If the Kansas company is covered by federal minimum wage and overtime laws through the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, an employee must be paid overtime when working more than 40 hours a week. Paid travel time is included.

In the case of this employer, once the employee arrives at the warehouse, any more travel to work sites would be counted as part of the day’s work. That means the employee must be paid for travel time from the warehouse to a work site and back to the warehouse. That puts it under the provisions of the overtime law.

If service tech Maria, for example, worked 35 hours last week and is entitled to 10 hours of travel time, the total amount of time she is entitled to for that week is 45 hours. This is 5 hours over the 40-hour week, so the employer would have to pay 5 of her hours at “time-and-a-half,” or 1.5 times her usual hourly rate.

Under some conditions an employer may legally pay a worker a reduced travel rate. That employer must pay overtime at the employee’s average weekly rate, based on a combination of regular pay and travel time pay.



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