Can I Be Paid For Travel Time in California?

Depending on your circumstances, certain activities such as travel time are considered “working hours” and are eligible for compensation. Travel pay requirements and outlines can be confusing because they hinge on many of different factors, such as whose car is being used and whether the employee is exempt or non-exempt. If your employer is not properly keeping up with state or federal guidelines in this area, you may be eligible for compensation.

Basic Rules of Travel Pay

According to federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act primarily governs travel pay. It essentially hinges on whether or not the employee’s time is used principally for the employer’s benefit. This includes time spent under the “control” of the employer, such as on-site or on-call time. In California, this idea of “control” is much more favorable to the employee.

Take a look at basic guidelines concerning travel pay:

  • Employers are not obligated to compensate an employee for their regular commute.
  • Time traveling for a special assignment or emergency outside of regular hours is compensable.
  • An employee’s time spent traveling to an assigned worksite is compensable, but not time spent traveling to a central location to pick up equipment, or the like.
  • Under California law, overnight travel or travel away from home is considered work time.
  • Meal periods or leisure time while traveling is not compensable work time.

Generally speaking, in California, travel time is compensable when an employer asks the employees to meet at a pre-determined location and travel to a work site via the employer’s transportation, not the employee’s transportation.

Nonexempt employees may be compensated for their travel time at a lower pay rate than their normal pay rate—even as low as minimum wage. This pay rate must be clearly outlined beforehand in a compensation agreement.

Get a Harvard Los Angeles Employment Law Attorney On Your Side!

Were you improperly compensated for your travel time? Is your employer purposefully withholding travel time compensation from you? If you think you are being inadequately compensated for your travel time, talk to our Los Angeles employment lawyer from Alan Burton Newman, PLC. His legal expertise can help you obtain proper compensation!

Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation!