An employees may think that his or her employer is not required to pay for travel time to and from work – but that is not always true! In fact, if an employee is required to meet at an employer’s place of business to perform job duties before traveling to a jobsite or return there at the end of the day before going home, the employer may have to pay the employee for his or her travel time.
Normally, under the Portal–to–Portal Act of 1947, which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that governs employees’ wages, employers do not have to pay employees for time spent “(1) walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which such employee is employed to perform, and (2) activities which [occur before] or [occur after] said principal activity or activities.” Principal activities are an employee’s primary job duties, i.e., those that are integral and indispensable to an employee’s job.
However, travel time to and/or from jobsites may be compensable if an employee is required to report to his or her employer’s place of business to perform job duties either before traveling to the job-site or after returning from the job-site.
For example, in Aviles-Cervantes et al. v. Outside Unlimited Inc., the U.S. District Court in Maryland recently denied an employer’s motion to dismiss a group of employees’ claim for unpaid travel time to and from work. There, the employees, who were laborers, alleged that each morning they had to report to their employer’s yard to receive crew assignments and load trucks in preparation for their work assignments. At the end of the day, the employees were required to return to the yard to unload the trucks before leaving to go home. Based on those allegations, the Court held that the employees’ travel time may be compensable and denied the employer’s motion to dismiss the employee’s case.
This case is important because it reinforces the rule that employers may have to pay employees for travel time.
If you are required to meet at your employer’s place of business and perform work, before or after traveling to a job-site, you may be owed wages for your travel time. The attorneys at Lebau & Neuworth are experienced in dealing with travel time issues such as these and we may be able to help. For more information, contact Lebau & Neuworth at 888-456-2529 or lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.