Should my employer pay me for travel time?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2022 | Employment Law

You love your job, and one of the perks is that you get to travel around the world. The only thing that you haven’t appreciated is that you’re not paid for the time you spend traveling to the destination, only for the time you spend there after you arrive.

To you, traveling for work means you’re on the clock from the time you set out to catch the plane. Is that the case, though? Does your employer owe you money for the time you spend traveling?

Different types of travel are handled unique ways

The U.S. Department of Labor states that different types of travel may be compensated uniquely, because not all kinds of travel equal time on the job. Here are a few scenarios that might help you understand if you should be paid for your travel time.

  • Traveling on assignment is typically compensable. If you travel to another city for work, then the time you spend traveling to and from that location is usually considered to be work time and should be compensated for.
  • Traveling as a part of your normal work should be counted as work time. For instance, traveling to a client’s home to start work on a piece of construction should be compensated as work time.
  • Commute time, which is travel from home to work or from work to home, is not paid under most circumstances.

Usually, the rule is that if you are traveling for your job, that time is compensable with the exception of your commute time to and from your normal place of work. Sometimes, this can get confusing, especially for people who normally work from home or those who travel to different offices for work throughout a single week.

If you’re not sure if you should be receiving pay for the time you spend traveling, it may be helpful to look closer into the federal and state laws that apply to your role. Talk to your employer to see what their take on the rules is. If you think you’ve been shorted pay, you may also be able to take your claim to court to seek retroactive pay.