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Travel Pay for Nonexempt Employees

Pay for nonexempt employees traveling on business is governed by provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Travel time will be paid at the employee’s regular hourly rate, or overtime rate when the total number of hours worked is in excess of 40 in a pay week (Sunday through Saturday). Non-exempt employees (regular, limited term or temporary) must be compensated for time spent traveling based on the guidelines outlined below.

The number of compensable travel hours depends on whether the trip is one day only or overnight, and whether the travel time takes place within normal or outside of normal work hours.

Normal Commute

  • Normal commute/travel time to and from work is not compensated.

Same Day Travel

  • Time spent traveling, during normal work hours, to and from a work site or to and from another city is counted as hours worked, whether as a driver or passenger by car or common carrier (airplane, train, boat, bus).
    • If the employee departs directly from his/her home and/or if an employee returns directly home for work-related travel, the normal commute time should be deducted from hours worked.

Overnight Travel

  • When travel keeps the employee away from home overnight, any portion of authorized travel time that takes place within normal work hours on any day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday, is treated as work hours.
    • If the employee departs directly from his/her home and/or if an employee returns directly home for work-related travel, the normal commute time should be deducted from hours worked. 
      • When traveling to a location, the destination is either the hotel or the work site (whichever location the employee travels directly to).
      • When returning from a remote location, the destination is the employee’s regular worksite (even if the employee is returning home since normal commute time should be deducted from hours worked).

Travel Outside Normal Work Hours

  • When an employee travels outside of normal work hours, travel time may or may not be compensated, as outlined below:
    • If the travel time is outside of normal work hours and is on a common carrier or the employee is a passenger in a vehicle other than a common carrier and NO work is performed, the travel time is not compensated.
    • If the travel is outside of normal work hours and is on a common carrier (airplane, train, boat, bus) or the employee is a passenger in a vehicle other than a common carrier AND work is performed, the travel time is compensated.
    • If travel time is outside of normal working hours and the employee is required to drive, the time is compensated.

Special Travel Notations

  • When traveling for the university, employees will be compensated a minimum of their normal hours scheduled for the workday.
  • When an employee drives, time must always be counted as hours worked.
  • When flying, employees will be compensated from the arrival time at the airport (up to two hours prior to the flight) unless the flight is delayed. If the flight is delayed, the employee will be compensated for all hours associated with the delay upon arrival to the airport.When an employee travels between two or more time zones, the time zone associated with the point of departure should be used to determine the number of work hours for that day and whether or not the travel falls within normal work hours.
    • Please note that this only applies if the hours prior to the flight are within the employee’s normal working hours.

Exclusions from Travel Time

  • Regular meal period time is not considered compensable time while traveling.
  • Free time, time spent sleeping, eating meals, and other personal activities is not considered work time and is not compensable time.

Examples

Example 1: An employee’s normal work schedule is from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The employee travels on business to a location that requires two hours of travel time. The employee leaves Friday at 8:30 a.m., works the remainder of Friday and Saturday morning, and returns on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

  • Compensable time
    • The two hours of travel time on Friday and the two hours of travel time on Saturday are compensable time because it is during regular work hours of 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
    • The hours worked on Friday and Saturday are also compensable time.

Example 2: An employee’s normal work schedule is from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The employee travels on business (or to a conference) to a location that requires two hours of driving to the airport and a 5-hour flight. The employee leaves Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and arrives at their destination at 4 p.m. but doesn’t begin work until Monday at 8:30 a.m. The employee then works/conferences until 5:00 p.m. on Monday and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. After the meeting ends at 5:00 p.m., the employee catches a cab to the airport, flies home and upon arrival at the airport drives two hours home. The employee arrives Wednesday morning at 1:00 a.m. and returns to work at the regularly scheduled time that day to work the remainder of the week.

  • Compensable time
    • The two hours driving time on Saturday and two hours of driving time on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning is compensable time.
    • The work hours on Monday and Tuesday are also compensable time.
    • The 5-hour flight on Saturday is compensated, because it cuts across normal working hours, even though it is a non-workday. 
    • Non-Compensable time
      • The flight time on Tuesday is not compensated since it is outside the normal work schedule.
      • Meal times and other time outside the employee’s normal work hours are not compensated.  

Last updated 6.28.16