Besides adorable bunny rabbits, what’s the least political thing that we can talk about today?


Image by Rebekka D from Pixabay

How about the two new wage and hour opinion letters that the U.S. Department of Labor issued yesterday on esoteric Fair Labor Standards Act issues? 

Here they are:

  • FLSA2020-15: Addressing the compensability of time that employees spend attending voluntary training programs in certain situations.
  • FLSA2020-16: Addressing compensability of employee travel time in certain situations involving construction sites located away from the employer’s principal place of business.

I actually read these opinion letters, and they are about as fact-specific and boring as they sound. For example, the first opinion letter analyzes six different fact patterns of employees taking voluntary in-person and online continuing education training. If I actually got into the weeds on this one, I’d risk losing three-quarters of the eight of you who made it this far into today’s post. So, be my guest, and read the opinion letter yourself.

The other opinion letter examines three scenarios of whether the travel time of non-exempt foremen and laborers is compensable work time under the FLSA. Thrilling, right? Basically, here are the takeaways:

  • If rather than going straight from home to a job site, the worker must report to the office first, travel time from the office to a local job site (and back) is compensable. If, however, an employee chooses to meet at the office to get a ride to the job site, that does not transform the commute into compensable work time.
  • For laborers who are away from home overnight, travel time from the hotel to the job site is not compensable. However, travel time to and from the remote location at the beginning and end of the job may (or may not) be compensable. You should read the opinion letter to discern the nuance for yourself.
  • Finally, in situations in which laborers forego staying at a hotel but drive from home to a remote worksite (and back) each day, the same analysis applies to travel time to and from the remote location at the beginning and end of the job. However, the intervening drives home and back to the remote job sire would not be compensable.

Wow, I didn’t think that I could hate anything worse than politics today, but there you have it.

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