California employees are paid for all their time spent working, including the time an employee spends traveling for work. An employee should be paid for overtime compensation if they are eligible and their travel time extends that of their forty-hour work week. However, most team members know their commute via car, bus, or train to work does not count as time they spent working. This begs the question: when does the time an employee spends travelling for work become compensated? Read about the top five points to keep in mind, when you aren’t quite sure if your travel time should be compensated.
- When the travel is for the purpose of delivering work-related items. If it’s necessary to use your own vehicle to deliver any kind of work-related-items, then the time traveled is considered hours worked. You should be compensated.
- When travel is made on an employer-selected route. According to CA law, if you travel on a route specified by your employer, then you are under your employer's control. You should be compensated for your travel time.
- Time spent travelling to job functions could be compensable. Time spent travelling to a meeting or work-related function, even the airport or train station for work-related travel, is typically, compensable travel time.
- Compensable travel time must be considered hours worked. If your employer “controls” you during the time you spend traveling, or you are permitted to work during travel time, then you should be compensated as these hours are considered hours worked.
- Reimbursement for work-related vehicle use. Lastly, an employee should be reimbursed for mileage associated to travel for work. This includes the “wear and tear” of an employee’s vehicle, accordingly to California Labor Code Section 2802.
Knowing when your travel time should or should not be compensated is important, especially to those who travel extensively for work. California employees are to be notified of the travel rate in advance, and the travel rate cannot be less than minimum wage. Know that sometimes travel time is compensated at a different rate than normal hours worked. However, employees who are eligible for compensated travel time should be paid accordingly under California law. CA regulation states that employers are required to reimburse an employee for any out of pocket expenses in the course of their duties and there is no time frame to submit it.
Ruiz, Hennig. “Travel Pay Laws in California: What Employees Need to Know | Hennig Ruiz Law Firm.”Hennig Ruiz & Singh, Hennig Ruiz & Singh, 31 Aug. 2017, www.employmentattorneyla.com/blog/2017/06/travel-pay-laws-in-california-what-employees-need-to-know.shtml.
user, a JustAnswer. “Question #1: How Is Travel Pay for Hourly Non Exempt.” JustAnswer, 5 Sept. 2018, www.justanswer.com/employment-law/bjtya-question-1-travel-pay-hourly-non-exempt.html.
“Mileage Reimbursement Considerations under California Law.” California Employment Law Report, 9 Feb. 2019, www.californiaemploymentlawreport.com/2019/02/mileage-reimbursement-considerations-california-law/.
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