Dustin Paschal here with this week’s Simon Pascal says. Today we’re gonna talk about travel time and whether or not that travel time is compensable, whether or not it has to be paid.

Obviously if you’ve got an exempt employee that’s not really an issue or something you have to worry about, so what we’re focused on here are non-exempt employees–those employees that are eligible for overtime–those employees whose time you track.

So the question becomes, when do I have to pay those employees, as an employer, for travel time? So the first question is to and from work, that’s an easy one, the time to and from work or to and from the employee’s regular work location is not compensable. An employer does not have to pay for that time. That’s just the employee’s regular commute.

Now if the employee has a special job assignment at a different location, say you know on just a random day, then the time to and from that employee’s home to that special job site and then back home, that is compensable. But you can offset that time with the time that the employee would normally spend in their regular commute. So that’s kind of a commuting to a special job site.

Obviously any driving within the workday, if the employee is required to drive to make deliveries, or drive to pick something up, or anything like that, that’s going to be compensable time that must be paid.

The one kind of is the one that’s most confusing to people where that comes up most often is overnight travel. When do I have to pay a non-exempt employee for overnight travel? So anything that requires the employee to stay away from their home overnight is travel away from home. And the way that works is that the employee’s time traveling, if it’s during their normal working hours, that must be compensated. And that’s regardless if they travel on a work day or a non-work day. If it’s in their normal working hours it has to be compensated.

So then the question becomes what about outside of their normal working hours? Well that the Department of Labor basically says if they are a passenger on a boat or train or plane or cars and like that they don’t have to be compensated if they’re a passenger outside of their normal working hours. Now if they are driving and it’s a requirement of the employer, they do have to be compensated whether or not they’re driving in this travel away from home either during their working hours or outside of their working hours.

Now an exception there is if the employer gives them the option to use public transportation, and the employee prefers to use his or her car and drive, then the employer need not pay for the employee’s time outside of their normal working hours. The employer would still have to pay for their time during their normal working hours.

Now one final point on all that: although the employer does not have to pay for travel away from home outside of the normal working hours of the employee if the employee is a passenger, if the employee is performing work, responding to emails, making phone calls, reviewing paperwork–whatever it is– if the employee is working, that time must be compensated. That’s just your default pay for hours worked by the employee.

So there’s your rules for travel time. They can sometimes be confusing. Make sure you check those. The Department of Labor has some good resources on how to determine when time must be paid for travel for non-exempt employees, or contact your friendly employment lawyer. I’m Dustin Pascal for Simon Pascal Says.

Simon | Paschal
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Dallas, TX 75240
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More info on When Does a Texas Employee Have to be Paid for Travel Time?

  • Travel Pay for Hourly Employee in Texas | Human Resource Blog

    Travel Pay for Hourly Employee in Texas. One day, the employer requires Kelly to report to a city 75 miles away, for training. Kelly is almost certainly entitled to payment for the time spent traveling the extra 60 miles. She may be entitled to payment for the entire time, if the travel occurs during business hours and she is driving.

  • H. Travel Time - twc.texas.gov

    H. Travel Time. For instance, if the normal hours are 8 am to 5 pm from Monday through Friday, and the employee must perform job-related travel on Sunday from 3 pm to 7 pm, the employer would need to pay only for the time from 3 to 5 pm. Similarly, work performed while traveling must be counted as hours worked under 29 C.F.R. 785.41.

  • Travel Time | U.S. Department of Labor

    Time spent in home-to-work travel by an employee in an employer-provided vehicle, or in activities performed by an employee that are incidental to the use of the vehicle for commuting, generally is not "hours worked" and, therefore, does not have to be paid.

  • Texas - Hours Worked - Employment Law Handbook

    Show up or reporting time. Texas law does not require employers to pay employees for reporting or showing up to work if no work is performed. An employer is also not required to pay an employee a minimum number of hours if the employer dismisses the employee from work prior to completing their scheduled shift.

  • Texas Payday Law - Texas Workforce Commission

    Employers must post notices of paydays in conspicuous places in the workplace. If an employer does not designate paydays, the employer's paydays are the first and 15th of each month. If an employee quits, they must be paid in full at the next regular payday. Terminated employees must be paid in full within six days.

  • When Must I Pay Employees for Travel Time?

    The Department of Labor (DOL) discusses employees who drive employer-provided vehicles. The DOL considers time spent in home-to-work travel by an employee in an employer-provided vehicle, or in activities performed by an employee that are incidental to the use of the vehicle for commuting, generally is not "hours worked" and, therefore, does not have to be paid.

  • Texas Labor Laws – Wage and Hour - EmploymentLawHandbook.com

    Texas labor laws do not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees, thus the federal rule applies. TX Labor Law FAQs . The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal (lunch) period or breaks.

  • Employment Law 101: Travel Time | Texas Employer Handbook

    If an employee is sent out-of-town multiple days for work, travel time that is outside of their usual work time is counted. Hence, an employee who usually works Monday – Friday, 8 to 5 will be paid for all time (including the drive to the airport since it is not a regular workday) on a Sunday to arrive for a Monday meeting.

  • When Does a Texas Employee Have to be Paid for Travel Time?

    Now one final point on all that: although the employer does not have to pay for travel away from home outside of the normal working hours of the employee if the employee is a passenger, if the ...

  • Federal Labor Laws on Travel Time & Expenses | Chron.com

    Whether travel time is considered work time is a question that applies to employees who are paid by the hour, commonly referred to as nonexempt employees, and who are protected by the FSLA’s ...

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