Posted by Tamara
The laws about travel time for employees can be complex. Whether or not a worker is entitled to paid travel time is subject to a whole series of variables.
One thing is not hard to understand, however. It is that, if the travel time is paid travel time, then it is subject to federal minimum wage and overtime regulations.
Those regulations are spelled out in the Fair Labor Standards Act, sometimes referred to as the FLSA.
The point merits discussion. For example, a Georgia employer asked if travel time could be exempted. Many Georgia employers wonder if they can avoid paying overtime by coding travel time separately in the computerized payroll system.
The answer, as may be clear by now, is “no.” Not all travel time is paid travel time, of course. For example, it’s highly unlikely that an employer would be legally obliged to pay for an employee’s short commute from home to the warehouse and back from the warehouse to home.
In this instance, however, the travel is “all in a day’s work,” so to speak. One the employee arrives at the warehouse, any other trips to work sites would be considered part of the work day. That would make those trips paid trips, and they would be subject to the FLSA’s regulations on overtime and minimum wage.
If sales rep Angela, to offer a hypothetical situation, worked 35 hours last week and is entitled to 10 hours of paid travel time weekly, her total workload that week was 45 hours. Anything over 40 hours requires overtime pay, so Angela must receive 5 hours of pay at “time-and-a-half,” or 1.5 times her normal pay rate.
Employers may legally pay a reduced rate for travel under some conditions. Overtime must be paid at the employee’s average rate per week, based on the work rate and the travel rate.
The rules differ if an employee is on an assignment beyond the normal commuting range or requires an overnight stay.
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