Do We Need to Pay Workers for Their Long Commutes?

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commutingQ: In my firm, an employee?s workday begins at a
worksite, which could anywhere, even as far as an hour or more from his
home. There is no corporate office. It is my understanding that travel
time to work (wherever that may be) is not compensable. Is that always
true? What if that first work location is a long way from home?

A: The general rule is that travel from work location
to work location during the workday is compensable. But travel from
home to work and work to home is not, regardless of the distance. The
rule comes from the Portal to Portal Act, which amended the Fair Labor
Standards Act.

If the employee worked from a corporate office
location and had to drive from home directly to a first assignment past
that headquarters, the time spent in commuting past the normal time it
took to get to work might be compensable. However, you note that there
is no corporate office location nearby.

The only exception (as a matter of federal law) that
might occasionally apply to your workers involves travel that keeps an
employee away from home overnight.

(Source: TNS)