Opinion letter discusses scenarios when time is paid

Knowing when you have to pay nonexempt workers for travel time can be confusing. The Department of Labor (DOL) has shed some light on that issue in a recent opinion letter.

The letter asks whether nonexempt construction foremen and laborers have to be paid for the time they spend traveling to different job sites.

Traveling in trucks

In some cases, the foremen and laborers were required to travel to local job sites. The foremen used company trucks, which they picked up from company headquarters, drove to the job site and returned at the end of each day. Laborers could either drive to the site themselves or ride from headquarters with the foremen.

Foremen also had to pick up and return company trucks when traveling to remote job sites up to four hours away from headquarters. Laborers were expected to drive their own vehicles to these sites, but would sometimes ride with the foremen. The company would provide all workers with overnight hotel accommodations.

Occasionally, laborers would drive to and from their homes to the remote job site each day, instead of staying.

In each scenario, the DOL said the travel time for the foremen was compensable because picking up, driving and returning the company truck was a necessary part of their daily duties. However travel time for laborers was only compensable if they drove to remote job sites during their normal work hours or were passengers during normal work hours.

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