TRAVEL TIME VS COMMUTING TIME: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
But before we delve into the topic, let’s make sure that you understand the difference between commuting time and travel time. The former refers to an employee’s personal time spent to commute back and forth from work to home, while travel time is time spent traveling by an employee for work-related activities.
Under California employment laws, travel time should be paid, and can be either local trips or travel away from home.
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR TRAVEL TIME PAY?
You are eligible to receive pay for local travel time only if you are a non-exempt employee (meaning: you are employed on an hourly basis). Exempt employees, who are paid based on their performance and expertise, are not entitled to travel time pay.
For non-exempt employees, travel time – as well as education and training time – are classified as “working hours,” which means their employers are legally required to pay them for it.
If you are asked by your employer or supervisor to drive to a store to pick up some items during normal work hours, you should be paid for your travel time.
TIME SPENT TRAVELING AWAY FROM HOME
An employer in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California is required to compensate his employees for any time spent traveling away from home. Let’s say, for example, that your employer directs you to attend a two-day event in New York City. Since you will have to spend time traveling from Los Angeles to New York City, your employer should pay travel time.
HOW TO CALCULATE TRAVEL TIME PAY?
Calculating travel time pay for salaried employees, who get paid bi-weekly or monthly, is not a problem, since they get paid regardless of the number of hours worked.
Hourly employees, meanwhile, should be paid on an hourly basis, which means travel time may not be as easy to calculate. It is highly advised to speak to an employment law attorney to find out whether or not travel time pay was calculated properly in your particular situation.
IS ONE-DAY OR OVERNIGHT STAY PAID?
If you have not been for a one-day or overnight stay, seek immediately legal advice of a lawyer. While hourly employees in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California are generally required to receive travel time pay in these situations, there are certain exceptions. That is why you should speak to an attorney to learn more.
SHOULD YOUR EMPLOYER COMPENSATE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES?
Definitely. Travel time itself is not the only thing that an employer pays for. Travel expenses should be compensated by your employer, as employees can generally deduct unreimbursed travel expenses. In case you are traveling for both work-related activities and personal travel, you will have to keep separate checks for business-related expenses.