Travel Policy

If an employer has a travel policy that states:
"All travel time is to be paid at straight time."
and defines travel time as:
"Time in excess of your 40-hour work week."
are they violating the overtime requirements.

1 answer  |  asked Sep 28, 2007 3:50 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Gregory Gordillo
An employer is not free to decide when to pay OT premium for travel

The short answer to your question is that if an employer refuses to pay an employee time and one half the regular rate of pay for time worked over forty hours in a week, the employer is violating the law unless the employee is exempt from the requirement. An employer is not free to alter this requirement. So the likely answer to your question is "yes."

Here is why: Every issue concerning whether an employee must be paid at least time and a half for overtime involves two questions. First, is the employee exempt from the general rule that requires employers to pay all employees time and a half for the employees' overtime work? Second, what hours count as hours worked for the purpose of calculating whether the employee worked enough hours to earn an overtime premium?

The fact that an employee travels is not enough alone to exempt an employee from the genreal requirement to pay the employee their overtime premium. So unless the employee has other reasons to be exempt (such as executive duties or an outside sales job) that might allow the employee to qualify for exemption, the employer generally must pay the employee overtime premium compensation when the employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek.

So when an employee must be paid additional compensation for overtime work, the next question is whether the employee has been working enough hours to qualify. Travel time is a tricky part of wage and hour law. Sometimes travel time is considered time worked. Other times it is not. For example, travelling from the employee's usual place of business to an offsite location to perform work is considered time worked. Travel from home to the office, is not considered time worked.

All of this means simply this: If you are an employee that is not exempt from the overtime pay requirements and if the time you spend travelling is time worked, then the employer generally must pay the employee time and a half when the total time worked in the week is more than 40 hours, including the travel time that is considered work time.

posted by Gregory Gordillo  |  Sep 28, 2007 5:36 PM [EST]

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