Whether time spent traveling is compensable depends upon the specific type of travel involved.
Traveling from Home to Work
An employee who travels from home before the regular workday and returns home at the end of that same workday is engaged in ordinary home to work travel. This travel time is not compensable work time.
Traveling that is all in a Day’s Work
An employee must be compensated for time he or she spends traveling as part of his or her principal activity. Time spent traveling for a principal activity may include travel from job site to job site during the workday. In addition, if an employee is required to report somewhere to pick up materials or perform other work, the travel from that place to the workplace is compensable work time.
However, whether time traveling away from the worksite beyond the normal workday is compensable depends on:
- The amount of travel time that is spent traveling away from the worksite; and
- Whether the employee is required to report back to work or goes directly home from the other location.
If required to return to work, the entire travel period is compensable work time. However, if the employee goes directly home, the time spent traveling home is non-compensable.
Traveling from Home to a Special One-Day Assignment in Another City
When an employee who regularly works at a fixed location is given a special one-day assignment in another city, the time spent traveling to and returning from the other city is compensable work time. However, the employee’s regular home to work travel time or travel time for home to public transportation may deducted.
Overnight Travel Away from Home
Travel that requires an employee to be away from home overnight is compensable work time when it cuts across the employee's workday. Under these circumstances, compensable time includes not only regular workday hours, but also the corresponding hours on nonworking days. Compensable travel time for an employee who regularly works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, would include travel time during those same hours on Saturday and Sunday as well as Monday through Friday. Regular meal period time is not counted.
Time spent in travel away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus or automobile is not considered compensable work time. However, all time spent driving an automobile is compensable except as described below.
Traveling Away from Home in a Private Automobile
Compensable travel time includes the time an employee drives his or her own vehicle if the employer:
- Offered to cover the costs of the employee’s public transportation; and
- Authorized the employee to drive his or her own vehicle.
In these situations, compensable time includes the time that would have been counted as work time during working hours if the employee had used the public transportation.