Employee Travel Time…

I hear this question fairly often:
“Am I required to pay my employees for travel time from their home to a faraway job site/work location?” 

Here’s my response:
Good question! 😊 While each client’s situation we work with is different, as a general rule we advise our clients that an employer is not required to pay for travel time to employees who travel reasonable distances to job sites on a daily basis.

However, if the company requires the employee to travel to a distant worksite, the time is compensable.

So whether the employer is required to pay for travel time from home to a job site really depends on how far away the job site is located…

Here’s what the law says:
California courts and the Labor Commissioner (“DLSE”) distinguish between “travel that the employer specifically compels and controls…and an ordinary commute that employees take on their own.” Morillion v. Royal Packing, 22 Cal.4th 575, 587 (Cal. 2000).

So what is the difference between “compulsory” travel time and “an ordinary commute”? The DLSE has taken the position that travel involving a substantial distance from the assigned workplace to a distant worksite to report to work on a short-term basis is compensable travel time.

How much of such travel time is compensable? The answer is that the compensable travel time is measured by the difference between (1) the time it normally takes the employee to travel from his or her home to the assigned workplace and (2) the time it takes the employee to travel from home to the distant worksite.

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