Travel Time

Whether travel time is compensable depends upon the type of travel involved and whether there was Work Performed While Traveling.  Travel can be categorized as: (1) Home to Work Travel (Commuting); (2) Travel That is All in a Day’s Work; and, (3) Travel Away from Home Community

Work Performed While Traveling:  Any work that an employee is required to perform while traveling must be counted as hours worked. This would include activities such as driving, mandatory reading, clerical work, acting as a tour guide, etc.

If an employee drives a truck, bus, automobile, boat or airplane, or is required to ride therein as an assistant or helper, then the employee is working while riding.

Home To Work Travel (Commuting):  Ordinary commuting – travel between the worksite and the employees home – is typically not included in hours worked.  This time is compensable if: (1) the employee starts their workday before the commute; (2) the employee performs work while commuting; (3) the employee drives the employer’s vehicle; (4) the employee is commuting to a special assignment out of town; or, (5) the employee is commuting in an emergency situation.  

(1)     Travel time to the worksite may be compensable hours worked if the employee actually begins working at home (or at some other location prior to reaching the worksite).  For example, if an employee is required to receive work orders or contact customers from home before determining the initial worksite, this time and the travel time to the first worksite may be compensable. 

(2)     Commuting time may also be compensable as hours worked if the employee is required to perform some work while traveling between home and work.  Some examples of such work related duties that may be hours worked include:
  • Providing transportation for other employees to or from the work site;
  • Picking up supplies or equipment from local suppliers while traveling to or from the work site; or
  • Stopping at his or her place of business (e.g. home office) to pick up supplies, tools, to receive instructions or do other work there before traveling to or from your work site.
(3)      Commuting time in an employer’s vehicle is compensable hours worked, unless:
  • The vehicle is of a type normally used for commuting;
  • The employee is able to use the normal route for the commute;
  • The employee does not incur any additional costs using your employer's vehicle;
  • The home-to-work travel is within the employer's normal commuting area; and
  • The use of the vehicle for commuting is subject to an agreement between the employee (or the employee’s representative) and the employer.
(4)     Special One-Day Assignments occur when 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.

(5)    Emergency Situations occur when an employee has gone home after completing their day's work and are subsequently called to travel to perform an emergency job.  All time spent on such travel is hours worked.

Travel That is All in the Day's Work
:  Time spent by an employee in travel as part of his/her principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and must be counted as hours worked. When traveling to the work site, all of the time spent from the first work activity until arriving at the work site is hours worked

For example, if it normally takes an employee 30 minutes to travel to the work site, but the employee has to make a work-related stop (e.g. to pick up a part for the employer), which is 10 minutes from the employee’s home, all of the time from the stop until the employee arrives at the worksite is hours worked

The same is true of the travel from the worksite to home. All of the time from the work site to the point where the employee finishes his/her last work related duty is hours worked.  For example, if an employee is directed by the employer to provide transportation home for other workers, the time spent taking the other workers from the worksite to their homes is hours worked. The time spent going to the employees home from the home of the last passenger would not be hours worked, but would be ordinary home-to-work travel.

Travel Away from Home Community: Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight is travel away from home. Travel away from home is work time when it cuts across the employee's regular workday or corresponding hours on nonworking days.  Travel away from home that occurs outside the regular working hours, may or may not be hours worked depending on the circumstances.