You’re a hard worker who always shows up on time. You live around one hour away from the worksite, so a significant part of your mornings and evenings are spent commuting. Recently, however, your boss has been asking you to make stops on the way to work. You’ve also been sent work-related trips that include overnight stays.
All of this involves some form of travel. So, should you be paid for this travel time?
The daily commute
Your daily commute from home to work generally does not have to be compensated. If you are paid an hourly wage, you typically start being paid the moment you clock in at work. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, if your boss calls you and asks you to meet a client on the way to work or to pick up something that the company needs, you are no longer commuting. Once you have diverted from purely traveling to the workplace, then you need to be compensated for your time. In other words, you should be paid for work-related activities that break up your commute.
Trips to another city
Occasionally, you have been sent on trips to other cities. These trips are designed to grow the customer base and ensure that current clients are satisfied. Should you be compensated for the time you’ve spent on the road?
Time spent on the road when traveling for work purposes should be paid. Nonetheless, your employer is entitled to factor in the time you would usually spend commuting to the office. For example, if your regular commute is one hour, and the trip to another city takes three hours, then it might be acceptable for your employer to pay you for only two hours of your travel time. Of course, different rules apply in different states.
Ensuring that you are paid fairly
You are protected against being underpaid by wage and hour laws at the state and federal levels. If you believe that you have not been paid fairly for your time and work, you should contact the wage and hour lawyers at Edelson Lechtzin LLP to learn about your rights.