In an article published May 28 in Construction Executive, Jaime Wisegarver details guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) related to the compensability of travel time for non-exempt employees. While the question of whether businesses are required to pay employees for travel time continues to plague employers, the DOL opinion letter addresses the issue for non-exempt foremen and laborers in three scenarios.
“The first scenario discussed in the opinion letter involves travel to and from a local jobsite, meaning a jobsite that is close to or within the same city as the employer’s principal place of business,” Wisegarver writes. While the foreman’s trip from home to the employer’s place of business is an ordinary home-to-work commute that is not compensable, travel from the employer’s place of business to a jobsite is compensable when the foreman is required to retrieve, drive and drop off the company truck. However, the same may not be true for other laborers who choose to meet at the place of business and ride with the foreman to the jobsite.
In Scenario Two, workers are away from home overnight for work at a remote jobsite. Travel from a hotel to the jobsite is considered normal “home” to work travel and is not compensable, but there are exceptions. If laborers are driving or riding to a remote jobsite during normal work hours (even on what would otherwise be a non-work day), the time is compensable. If the employer offers to transport laborers to the remote jobsite in the company truck, but the laborer chooses to drive his or her own vehicle, the employer has a choice to make: count as compensable worktime either (1) the actual amount of compensable time the laborer accrues in driving to the remote jobsite, or (2) the amount of time that would have accrued during travel in the company truck.
“Scenario Three also involves a remote jobsite but with a slight twist: the laborers choose to drive between the remote jobsite and their homes each day,” Wisegarver said. “While the laborers’ travel to and from the jobsite at the beginning and end of the job would be treated as in Scenario Two, their intervening drives home and back to the remote jobsite would not be compensable.’
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Kristen M. Chatterton