Let’s say that some of your non-exempt employees choose to telework for part of the day and work at the office for part of the day, with enough time to perform personal tasks in between. Do you have to compensate them for the travel time between home and office?
Let’s check out some hypothetical scenarios.
- The employee has a parent-teacher conference at his child’s school from 1:30-2:15 pm, for which the employee has permission to attend. The employee worked at the office before the conference and will continue to work from home after the conference. Is the time spent driving from office to school compensable? How about the time driving from school to home?
- The employee has a doctor’s appointment from 8:30-9:15 am, for which the employee has permission to attend. The employee will work from home before the appointment and drive to the office and continue working after the appointment? Is the time spent driving from home to the doctor compensable? How about the time driving from the doctor to the office?
Travel is not compensable from worksite to worksite unless it is part of the employee’s principal activity during the workday. The employer does not require that the employee travel. Rather, the employee is traveling voluntarily for his/her own personal purposes. The time that each employee takes off is for them to do as they please. The remains the case whether the employee is traveling to/from a personal appointment, having personal meetings, or performing other personal activities, as long as the employee is completely relieved of work responsibilities during that time.
Thus, when an employee: (1) chooses to perform some work before traveling to the office, or (2) chooses to perform work at home after leaving the office, then, in either case, the employee has enough time between telework and office work to use the time for his/her own purposes effectively. Therefore, travel time non-compensable under the FLSA.
You can read the DOL Guidance here.
- Non-exempt employees should be tracking their work time in the office and at home. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you’re screwed. Call an employment lawyer right away.
- Exempt employees get paid for any day or partial day that they work.
- Depending on the state(s)/locality(ies) in which your business operates, there could be some more employee-friendly non-federal wage-and-hour laws that apply. So, tread carefully, and consult with your outside employment counsel.