John Bechtol, Attorney at Law

John B. Bechtol


Posted on August 20, 2014

An employer is a prominent manufacturer of products used in the oil and gas industry….

The employer has three repair workers who normally do repairs of the company’s products in the company’s facility from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, Monday through Friday.  The company’s biggest customer, a major oil and gas producer, calls to inform the company that a recent shipment of products was defective.  To remedy the situation, the customer requests that the three repair workers be sent to the job site, which is over four hours away from the company’s headquarters.  The employer complies to keep its biggest customer happy.

The company decides the best course of action is to send the workers (Adam, Bob, and Chuck) in a company car.  The employees leave on Monday at 5:00 p.m.  Adam is the driver with Bob and Chuck sitting in the back seat.  The employees arrive at their hotel at 10:00 p.m.  After completing a successful job, the employees leave on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. and arrive at the company’s headquarters at 9:30 p.m.  Adam drives the entire time again.

In order to determine overtime pay for the week, the company credits all three employees with ten additional work hours for the travel time on Monday and Thursday.  For the entire week, each employee is credited with having worked 50 hours, and all three are paid the additional ten hours at an overtime rate.  Has the company paid these employees the correct amount?

The answer is no.  The company has overpaid.  While Adam was properly paid (as he was “working” while driving the car), the travel for Bob and Chuck was travel outside of their normal working hours.  In all likelihood, those hours are not compensable by law.

Classifying hours on the road is one of the many facets under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Travel time payments, like many others, can be very complicated to interpret under this particular federal law.  The best practice to make sure that employees are properly credited with the correct hours worked and the correct amount of pay is to contact an attorney to review your practices.

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