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Travel time compensation

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louisgab

Junior Member
#1
What is the name of your state? Hawaii. My employer is based in Texas. I work in multiple states. I am full time, hourly, non-exempt, overtime eligible.

My employer flies me to work at various client sites throughout the US. My employer pays for my flights, luggage, and 8 hours of my travel time. My employer has told me that they will not pay me for more than 8 hours of travel time because that is the standard amount that they bill our clients for travel. My employer pays 8 hours of travel time regardless of actual time. If one of my colleagues lives close to a client's site and only has to take a 2 hour flight, he still gets 8 hours which often works out in favor of those who live on the mainland. In my case, I am regularly spending 10+ hours in the air, plus airport time, layovers, delays, in rental car lines, driving several hours to the hotel nearest the job site, but I am only compensated for 8 hours of my time. For example, I recently flew from Maui to San Francisco to Newark, picked up a rental and then drove 2.5 hours to a hotel in northern PA. My total time was 18 hours, but I was only paid for 8 hours.

Are they correct to give me only what they bill the client? If not, what is correct? Portal to portal? Airport check-in to destination baggage claim? Airport check-in to hotel?
Do they have to pay me for extended time due to weather delay or airline delays? What if a flight is cancelled and I am stuck overnight somewhere? How much of that time must they compensate me for?
What state's overtime laws should they adhere to? My departure airport state, destination airport state, layover airport state? I often fly to/from/layover in California. When should I be paid per California law?
 


#3
I'm going to be a little lazy in answering this one for two reasons. A. it is somewhat complex and B. It is Saturday morning. Read the following if you still have questions post them.

Travel Time:
The principles which apply in determining whether time spent in travel is compensable time depends upon the kind of travel involved.

Home to Work Travel:
An employee who travels from home before the regular workday and returns to his/her home at the end of the workday is engaged in ordinary home to work travel, which is not work time.

Home to Work on a Special One Day Assignment in Another City:
An employee who regularly works at a fixed location in one city is given a special one day assignment in another city and returns home the same day. The time spent in traveling to and returning from the other city is work time, except that the employer may deduct/not count that time the employee would normally spend commuting to the regular work site.

Travel That is All in a Day's Work:
Time spent by an employee in travel as part of their principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and must be counted as hours worked.

Travel Away from Home Community:
Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight is travel away from home. Travel away from home is clearly work time when it cuts across the employee's workday. The time is not only hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours but also during corresponding hours on nonworking days. As an enforcement policy the Division will not consider as work time that time spent in travel away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile.
 

louisgab

Junior Member
#4
The "travel away from home community" section most closely applies to my situation. If I understand it correctly, when flying I should be paid for time as a passenger for time which is within my regular working hours.

I don't really have regular working hours. So what would count? Typically, we work 7 days per week, 12 hours per day (or night). Usually something like 6am to 6:30pm or 6pm to 6:30am if on night shift, but it varies by client.

Here is a specific situation. I am scheduled to fly to work a project with a day shift schedule from 6am to 6:30pm, but take a redeye when going east (i.e. 10pm to 6 am - traveling outside of my 'normal' hours for the project). I go to the airport at 8pm hawaii time and land late at 7am central time. Only one hour fell within the 'normal working hours' for the project. Do they only have to pay me for one hour?

Another example. I worked a night shift in California on a Sunday from 6pm to 6:30am and took a flight home immediately after my shift at 9:30am. The flight time was only 6 hours, but I drove to the airport immediately after my shift ended to make it through security, etc. Does my time end at 6:30am when my normal shift ended or does my time continue to run until I get home for a 20.5 hour day making me eligible for all of the overtime per California law of working a 20.5 hour shift?

Also, the guideline is specific about time spent as a passenger. For flights, is time at the airport considered time as a passenger or is it only flight time with butt in seat that counts?
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
#5
I think that you are going to find, when it all comes down to it, is that the 8 hours of travel time that you are being paid for is going to be all you are going to get.
 
#6
You need to also understand that your employer can mandate you live within 8 hours travel time to any client. That would put you somewhere in the middle of nowwhere USA in a cornfield. Failure to comply with such requirements is a valid reason to terminate you.

Or your employer could schedule you flights for during non working time. With the situstion you describe he could have gotten away with paying less than 8 hours if he worked the schedule well enough. In fact, he could have scheduled you to fly and travel as much as possible on non working hours (18 + hours) and still expected you to be at work during regular hours and docked you if you had to sleep awhile before heading out to work.


Is this something you are willing to lose your job over because it very well could be.
 
#7
The "travel away from home community" section most closely applies to my situation. If I understand it correctly, when flying I should be paid for time as a passenger for time which is within my regular working hours.

I don't really have regular working hours. So what would count? Typically, we work 7 days per week, 12 hours per day (or night). Usually something like 6am to 6:30pm or 6pm to 6:30am if on night shift, but it varies by client.

Here is a specific situation. I am scheduled to fly to work a project with a day shift schedule from 6am to 6:30pm, but take a redeye when going east (i.e. 10pm to 6 am - traveling outside of my 'normal' hours for the project). I go to the airport at 8pm hawaii time and land late at 7am central time. Only one hour fell within the 'normal working hours' for the project. Do they only have to pay me for one hour?

Another example. I worked a night shift in California on a Sunday from 6pm to 6:30am and took a flight home immediately after my shift at 9:30am. The flight time was only 6 hours, but I drove to the airport immediately after my shift ended to make it through security, etc. Does my time end at 6:30am when my normal shift ended or does my time continue to run until I get home for a 20.5 hour day making me eligible for all of the overtime per California law of working a 20.5 hour shift?

Also, the guideline is specific about time spent as a passenger. For flights, is time at the airport considered time as a passenger or is it only flight time with butt in seat that counts?
The DOL is going to look at the standard 8 hour day in a case like this. SInce they are paying you for the 8 hour day your employer is likely to be following the rules. In fact, it is likely how they came up with the process in the first place.

I know for a fact that the DOL considers time spent in an airport waiting is no different than time as a passenger. The reason they put emphasis on the "as a passenger" is to differentiate it from time spent driving time. And example would be if you an a co-work drove together after hours to location as they are describing and he was driving he would be considered to be working and you as a passenger wouldn't be,
 
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