Compensating Employees for Travel Time under the FLSA

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to compensate their employees for all hours of work. To comply with this requirement, employers must keep track of the number of compensable hours employees work during a workweek. Whether time traveling is compensable depends on the kind of travel involved.

Home-to-work Travel

Employees who travel from home before the regular workday and return to their home at the end of the workday are engaged in ordinary home-to-work travel or commute. Ordinary work commute is not work time.

Special One-day Assignments in Another City

Employees who regularly work at a fixed location in one city may be given a special one-day assignment in another city with the expectation of returning home the same day.

The time these employees spend traveling to and returning from the other city is work time. However, employers may deduct from this time the period employees would normally spend commuting to their regular work site.

Travel Away from Home Community

Travel that keeps employees away from home overnight is travel away from home. The U.S. Department of Labor has indicated that “traveling away from home is clearly work time when it cuts across any employee’s workday.” This time is not only hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours but also during corresponding hours on nonworking days.

However, employers are not required to not consider as work time the time employees spend traveling away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile.