DOL: Journey Time Compensation Not Required for Break up Staff |

The US Department of Labor has issued new guidelines that require employers not to pay travel time to employees who choose to work remotely for part of the day.

The department’s wages and hours department issued a statement on December 31st as to whether an employee who works part of the day from home and part of the day in the office should be compensated for travel time.

One employer asked if an employee who splits time between teleworking and the office while doing personal chores in between needs to be compensated for a certain amount of travel time.

The employer presented two examples in which an employee commutes to work for an hour, works Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and does no work while commuting.

In the first case, the employee has a parent-teacher conference in the school from 1.30 p.m. to 2.15 p.m. and has permission to end the shift from home.

The worker leaves the office at 1 p.m. for a half-hour drive to school, meets with the teacher for 45 minutes, and then drives home for 30 minutes.

“Not compensable”

The employer asks whether travel allowance is justified if the employee:

  • Return to work as soon as you arrive
  • Spend an hour doing personal assignments and then get back to work
  • Spend two hours on personal assignments before going to work
  • Spends an hour doing personal errands, goes home to spend an hour doing personal tasks, and then resumes work

“We conclude that the time the employee spends in these scenarios cannot be compensated,” wrote DOL Administrator Cheryl Stanton.

medical appointment

In the second case, the employee has a doctor’s appointment from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. with a 45-minute drive from home to the doctor and a 15-minute drive from the doctor to work.

The employee works one hour from home between 5 and 6 a.m., goes to the doctor’s office at 7:45 a.m. and then comes to work at 9:30 a.m.

The employer asks:

  • Does the employee’s one hour travel time from home to the doctor and then from the doctor to work have to be compensated?
  • Can the employee’s commute time from the office to home, where the working day began, be compensated?

Stanton said no.

“An employee does not have to be paid for hours when she is not on duty – that is, during times when she is completely released from her duties and which are long enough to be able to use the time effectively for her own purposes “wrote Stanton.

“In addition, the time that an employee spends on normal commuting or normal travel from home to work and vice versa, ie the trip from home to work before the regular work day and the trip from work to home at the end of the work day , expressly excluded compensable hours. “

Continuous working day principle

According to the principle of continuous working day teaching, the time between the beginning and the end of the working day in which an employee performs his main tasks is considered to be subject to compensation.

The travel time between home and work cannot be compensated.

However, travel between jobs during the work day is subject to compensation, Stanton said, citing federal law and case law.

Travel between workplaces during the working day can be compensated.

“When an employee does a job before going to the office or works at home after leaving the office and in both cases has enough time between teleworking and office work to use it effectively for her own purposes, the time is that she spends between home and office cannot be compensated, ”she wrote.

This also applies to employees who have to do a smaller task after returning from work, e.g. For example, synchronizing a device or uploading information.

Pre-calculated overtime

Stanton also issued a separate statement on the compensation of caregivers who typically work 120 hours a five-day week.

The need for home care has increased during the coronavirus pandemic as people susceptible to the virus have to stay caregivers in their homes to reduce the risk of contagion.

Since the personal hours these workers have for sleeping or eating can be interrupted based on the needs of the customer, working hours vary and are unpredictable from week to week.

As a result, employers often pre-charge compensable hours, including overtime, for the employee, pay overtime for estimated hours over 40 in a week, and pay additional overtime for hours that actually go beyond the allotted hours.

US labor law allows an employer to exclude additional compensation through a premium rate.

One such employer asked whether these precalculated overtime payments could be excluded from the regular rate and whether they could be offset against overtime owed.

“Yes to both,” wrote Stanton.

“Provided there is an agreement or arrangement (written or unwritten) between the employer and the employee,” she said, “US labor law allows an employer to exclude additional compensation through a rate of bonus for certain hours of work on a day or day a job is granted. ” Week because such hours are more than eight hours on a working day or more than 40 hours on a working week. “

She added that the law “also allows the employer to credit payments that are under excluded [federal labor law] overtime pay owed under the Act on Fair Labor Standards. “

For more information, please contact Diane Mokriski (860.244.1900) | from CBIA @HRHotline.

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