Legal Ease

Traveling times

A common concern for roofing contractors is when and how to compensate employees for travel time. Many roofing contractors are unaware of the circumstances that require them to pay employees for time spent traveling to and from work. If you mistakenly assume the time an employee spends traveling to and from work is not compensable, you may be surprised if you are audited by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and consequently required to pay large sums of money for back wages and applicable interest. Therefore, it is important you understand when employees are entitled to compensation for time spent traveling to and from work.

Portal-to-Portal Act

The legal basis for an employee’s entitlement to travel-time compensation is found in the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) amendments, which commonly are referred to as the Portal-to-Portal Act. These amendments make commuting time to and from work noncompensable but include certain exceptions.

The Portal-to-Portal Act states no employer should be liable to his employees for failing to pay minimum wages or overtime compensation for time spent traveling to and from an actual place of performance of the principal activities a company’s employees are employed to perform. This includes time before a particular workday commences and after a workday ceases. In other words, travel time at the beginning and end of a workday need not be counted as work time unless an exception applies.

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