Complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act is a complicated endeavor. Understanding when to pay a nonexempt employee for travel time is a common compliance issue that school districts wrestle with.
Travel that is an integral part of the employee’s job is always compensable. For example, a district electrician traveling between job sites must be paid for that time. However, travel time to and from work is not compensable.
Occasionally, nonexempt employees will need to travel to training or a one-day work assignment. All time spent traveling as part of that one-day work assignment or training is compensable, even if it occurs outside the normal work schedule. However, time spent traveling from home to the airport, bus station, mass transit center, or other point of departure is not compensable. Mealtime and travel time to and from lunch during the one-day assignment or training are not compensable if no work is performed.
When nonexempt employee travel keeps an employee away from home overnight, compensable time depends on the nature of the travel and the time that it occurs.
- The employee driving the vehicle must be paid for the time spent traveling, regardless of when the travel occurs.
- For passengers, if travel occurs during normal working hours the time is compensable, even if it occurs during nonworking days (Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday).
- Traveling as a passenger by airplane, train, bus, or car is not compensable time if it occurs outside of normal working hours unless the employee is required to perform work while traveling.
- Meal periods and time spent sleeping are not compensable.
More details about compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act are available in the HR Library and The Administrator’s Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Erin Kolecki is a compensation and HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Erin an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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