HR Tip of the Week

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Travel Time: When Is Pay Required?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and many state laws, employers must pay non-exempt employees for certain time spent traveling. Below, we present several common travel scenarios (based on federal law) to test your knowledge of when pay is required. Choose the answer you think is right and then click to see the correct answer and explanation.

Question 1: An employee's regular commute to and from work is 10 minutes. The company then relocates to a new city that is 45 minutes away from the employee's home. Is the employer required to pay the employee for the time spent in the longer commute?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Correct answer

Question 2: An employee whose commute is usually 30 minutes each way is given a one-day assignment in another city. The employee's travel to the special assignment takes two hours each way. Is pay required? If so, how much time must be paid?

  1. No.
  2. Yes, the employee must be paid for all 4 hours (2 hours each way) of travel time.
  3. Yes, the employee must be paid for at least 3 hours of travel time.

Correct answer

Question 3: A service technician travels from worksite to worksite throughout their day. Is pay required for this time?

  1. It depends on whether the employee is driving or a passenger.
  2. The employee is entitled to pay for all the time spent traveling from worksite to worksite.
  3. No, pay isn't required for the time spent traveling between job sites.

Correct answer

Question 4: At the start of the workday, a service technician is required to report to a meeting place to receive instructions before going to the first job site. What time must be paid?

  1. The travel from home to the meeting place and the travel from the meeting place to the first job site.
  2. The travel from home to the meeting place but not the travel from the meeting place to the first job site.
  3. The travel from the meeting place to the first job site but not the travel from home to the meeting place at the start of the day.

Correct answer

Question 5: An employee's regular work hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The employee goes on an overnight business trip that begins with a flight on a Saturday. The employee waits at the airport for an hour before their 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. flight. Is the employee entitled to pay for the time spent waiting at the airport and time spent on the flight?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Correct answer

Question 6: An employer asks an employee to pick up office supplies on the way to work. Does the employer have to pay the employee for the time spent traveling from the supply store to the workplace?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Correct answer

Question 7: An employee has gone home after completing a day's work and is subsequently called to a customer for an emergency and has to travel a substantial distance. How much of the travel time must be paid?

  1. None.
  2. All of the time spent in travel.
  3. Only the travel that is beyond their normal commuting time must be paid.

Correct answer

Question 8: An employer offers public transportation to an employee who is traveling, but the employee elects to drive their own car instead. How does the employer determine the travel time that must be compensated?

  1. The employer must use the amount of time it took by car.
  2. The employer must use the amount of time it would take by public transportation.
  3. The employer may choose the amount of time it took by car or the time it would have taken by public transportation.

Correct answer

Conclusion:

Pay employees for travel time in accordance with the FLSA and state and local laws.

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