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Is your travel time eligible for overtime pay?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2023 | Wage & Hour Laws

In today’s work landscape, many employees find themselves traveling for work both for their commute and possibly as part of their job duties. The question that often arises is whether this travel time is eligible for overtime pay.

Coming to a conclusion in this matter requires understanding the rules surrounding compensation for travel time.

Regular work commute

In most cases, the time you spend commuting from home to your regular workplace is not considered eligible for overtime pay. This is because such travel is typically not part of your regular work duties. The clock usually does not start ticking until you arrive at your workplace.

Special assignments and traveling for work

When your job requires you to travel for a special assignment or to a location different from your regular workplace, the rules regarding overtime pay may differ. This time spent traveling to the special assignment location might be eligible for overtime pay. Overtime is all the more likely if travel extends beyond your regular working hours.

Overnight travel

When your job requires overnight travel, it introduces additional complexities. Generally, time spent traveling during your regular work hours is eligible for regular pay. Still, any travel time that goes beyond your typical work hours, including evenings and weekends, may be eligible for overtime compensation.

Documentation is key

To ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation for your travel time, it is important to keep accurate records. Maintain a log of the time you spend traveling for work-related purposes. Be sure to specify when it occurs outside of your regular working hours. This documentation can be valuable in case any disputes arise regarding overtime pay.

Information from the United States Census Bureau shows that Americans spend an average of 27.6 minutes commuting one-way for work. While this time is generally not compensable, any time you spend traveling for work beyond your commute should be on the table for overtime pay.