Department of Labor and Industry

Travel Time

General Rule:

For those individuals and enterprises NOT exempted from overtime and/or minimum wage or for employees whose travel time is NOT covered by a collective bargaining agreement:

• Time spent in a travel status is considered as work time for wage payment purposes and for purposes of minimum wage and overtime calculation.

• Time spent in travel to special events, such as training or conferences, whether for a day, or for periods of overnight duration, is also work time.

Not all circumstances can be addressed, for instance the applicability of collective bargaining agreements, but the applications contained herein are intended to address common travel situations.

Realize, the following are only examples and each travel situation needs to be weighed based on it’s own merits to determine whether it is work time or not.

How is the general rule applied?

1. Normal travel from the home of the employee to the place of business of the employer is not work time. For instance, if the work starts at 8:00 and the employee leaves home at 7:30, time spent in travel to the place of business where the principal activity is performed is not work time.

2. If the employer requires the employee to report to a shop or the employer’s principal office either at the beginning of the day, or at the conclusion of the day, any time spent traveling from the shop to the first location or from the last location to the shop is work time.

3. Time spent traveling between job sites that is all in a day’s work is work time. For instance, a plumber who arrives at the shop and travels to the first work location is working while traveling from the shop to the work location.

4. Time spent traveling to other sites during the day is work time, as is spent returning to the shop from the last work location. If the employee is relieved from duty after working at the last location and it is not required to report back to the shop, travel to home from that location is not work time, unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

5. A work crew is given the option of meeting at the employer’s premises at 7:30 a.m. to ride to the job site in the company vehicle or reporting to the job site at 8:00 a.m. However, the crew leader is required to drive the company truck from the employer’s premises to the job site to transport tools and employees.

The travel time from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. for the crew choosing to ride in the company’s vehicle is home to work travel and does not need to be counted as hours worked, provided the employees do not perform any work prior to traveling to the job site, i.e. loading the truck with tools and supplies. However, travel time for the crew leader required to drive the company vehicle is work time, as it is work for the employer’s benefit at the employer’s request.

6. A mechanic’s normal workday is 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, the mechanic receives a phone call at 9:00 p.m. requesting he go to a customer’s shop to repair a malfunctioning machine. Travel time from the worker’s home to the customer’s shop and back is work time.

7. An asbestos removal company contracts jobs throughout the state. Employees report to the various job sites at 8:00 a.m. each day for the duration of each project. This work on various job sites is a normal part of this type of employment and would not be considered special assignments. Employees travel to and from the distant locations on a daily basis or may choose to temporarily reside in the area. Travel time is home to work travel and does not need to be counted as hours worked.

8. An employee who normally finishes the day’s work on the employer’s premises at 5:00 p.m. is sent to a job site completing work at 8:00 p.m. The employee is allowed to return home from the job site instead of returning to the employer’s premises. The travel from the job site to the employee’s home is home-to-work travel and not hours worked, except for any time spent in travel which exceeds the employee’s normal home-to-work travel time. The difference is then compensable.

9. An employee who regularly works at a fixed site is given a special one-day assignment in another city. The employee’s usual workday ends at 5:00 p.m. The special assignment is completed at 4:00 p.m.; the employee arrives at the airport in his home community at 7:00 p.m., and arrives home at 7:30 p.m. In this case, the travel time between the assignment and airport (between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.) is work time since the travel was performed for the employer’s benefit, at the employer’s request. The half-hour travel time between the employee’s home and the airport may be considered home-to-work travel time, and does not need to be counted as hours worked.

If the employee in this example had been unable to get a flight home the same day, and had to take an 8:00 a.m. flight the next morning, the time between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following morning is not work time, if the employee is completely and specifically relieved of all duties.

10. Employees of a janitorial company meet at the employer’s premises at 6:00 p.m. Employees are assigned to clean several businesses each evening. Employees travel to the various work locations and may return to the employer’s premises during the workday for supplies. This travel time between work locations and between the employer’s and work location is during the course of a normal workday and is work time.

Exceptions to the General Travel Time Rule:

Emergency or call out situations: For instance, if an employee is subject to call out and is called to duty at a location other than their normal work site, the time spent traveling to that work site from their home is work time as is time spent traveling from that work site to their home.

The call to duty and associated travel time is all in the day’s work as this is a special circumstance.