All Danville classes and offices delayed to 10 a.m. on Fri., Jan 19, with delayed class schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about Travel: When is it Paid Time?

The U.S. Department of Labor made changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)regulations that change which employees may be considered non-exempt (eligible for overtime pay) or exempt (not eligible for overtime pay) effective December 1, 2016.   It is important that nonexempt employees and their supervisors understand what is and is not work time when you are traveling and attending meetings and conferences.

  1. Sometimes I travel to other Averett locations or attend conferences as part of my work with Averett, is all of the time I spend traveling and meeting and at conferences paid time that I report on my timesheet?
  2. If I have to report to work at a location other than where I normally work that is in the same general area as where I work, is the time spent driving to that location travel time that I report as work time?
  3. So if I am traveling in a car during my normal work hours, is that automatically work time that I should report on my timesheet?
  4. If I am driving a car after my scheduled work hours, returning from another location to my regular work location and two of my co-workers are with me, are we on work time or not?
  5. Let’s say that I have to travel from Danville to Richmond for several meetings, but will return that same day. Is all of my travel time that day work time since it is out of town?
  6. If I travel to a conference out of town that lasts for several days, how much of my time getting to and from and attending the conference do I report as work time?
  7. What if my travel crosses time zones, how do I calculate my work hours?
  8. These rules are really complicated and detailed. It sounds as though I have to keep track of everything I do and when I do it. Is that what it takes?
  9. If I know that I am going to have to travel on a day I do not normally work, say Sunday, to keep overtime at a minimum, can we use flexible scheduling to help keep my hours under or at least near 40 hours in the week?
  10. Is there an example that lists out exactly how this might look for a conference?

TQ1: Sometimes I travel to other Averett locations or attend conferences as part of my work with Averett, is all of the time I spend traveling and meeting and at conferences paid time that I report on my timesheet?

TA1: No. Travel time and whether it is work time that is eligible for pay is determined under a special set of U.S. Department of Labor rules. Whether or not travel time is reportable as work time depends on when you travel, why you travel, how you travel, and what you do while traveling. The following questions and answers will address specific rules and provide examples.

TQ2:   If I have to report to work at a location other than where I normally work that is in the same general area as where I work, is the time spent driving to that location travel time that I report as work time?

TA2:    Generally no. Commute time is not compensable work time. So if you normally work at the Danville main campus but need to start your day at Riverview (or North Campus, the Equestrian Center, the Airport, or even the Institute), the travel time to get there is not work time, it is commute time.   But once you arrive at that location and start to pick up materials or attend a business meeting, you are working and that time should be reported as work time. Once you finish your work at that location and return to your regular work location at main campus, that travel (drive) time is work time since you are traveling during your scheduled work hours and not just commuting to work.

On the other hand, if you are driving and pick up one or more coworkers to take them to the meeting, your time driving to pick everyone up and getting to the meeting is work time and should be reported.

TQ3:   So if I am traveling in a car during my normal work hours, is that automatically work time that I should report on my timesheet?

TA3:    Maybe, it is going to depend on if you make personal stops on the way. In general, if you are traveling from work location to work location during your scheduled work hours, it is going to be work time that should be reported. But if you decide to stop at home or at a restaurant to pick up a bite to eat, then the travel time from the place of work to the stop is not work time. But the time from the place you stopped to the work place will likely be work time.

TQ4:   If I am driving a car after my scheduled work hours, returning from another location to my regular work location and two of my co-workers are with me, are we on work time or not?

TA4:    If you are driving for work purposes (which this question says you are), your driving time is considered work hours and should be reported as such. However, your passengers, assuming they are not working while riding, are not on work time, since they are not engaged in activities that are for the benefit of the employer.

TQ5:   Let’s say that I have to travel from Danville to Richmond for several meetings, but will return that same day. Is all of my travel time that day work time since it is out of town?

TA5:    Unfortunately the rules are not quite that easy. The answer is, again, it depends.

If you are driving from your home to Richmond, spending the day in meetings and driving back to your home, all of that time is work time and should be reported as such, except possibly lunch depending on whether or not you worked through lunch.

But, if you drove from your home to the train station and took the train to Richmond and later returned the same way, it is different. When taking a common carrier (such as a train, bus, or plane) the commute from your home to the station is commute time, not work time. But once you arrive at the station, your work time starts. Work time then ends when you arrive back at your vehicle and begin your return commute home.

TQ6:   If I travel to a conference out of town that lasts for several days, how much of my time getting to and from and attending the conference do I report as work time?

TA6:    If your travel time is during your normal scheduled work hours (say 8:30 – 4:30), it is paid work time, even if it is on a day you do not normally work (such as Saturday or Sunday). If it is not during your work time, but is on your personal time and you use a common carrier (train, bus, or plane) or you are a passenger in a car, it is not work time and should not be reported on the timesheet. If your travel is by car and you are the driver, it is work time and should be reported.

Once you are at the conference, your work time is the time that you spend attending work sessions, listening to speakers, engaging in meetings, and performing work (such as checking email and returning phone calls). Activities that are not clearly work are considered personal and thus that time is not work time and not reportable. So, meals that are not work sessions (no speaker or assigned work), are social and are not work. Free time that you can use as you choose and entertainment activities associated with the conference (such as a golf outing), even when done with other conference attendees, are not work time.

TQ7:   What if my travel crosses time zones, how do I calculate my work hours?

TA7:    Use the actual time spent doing work activities or work travel. The easiest way to do this is to calculate your travel time (if it qualifies as work time) based on Eastern Time. So if you fly out of Greensboro at 9 am (Eastern Time) and land in Kansas City (your destination) at 2 pm (Central Time), convert the arrival time to Eastern time and then do the math. This example would be a 9 am departure and a 3 pm arrival, based on Eastern Time, for a total travel time of 6 hours.

TQ8:   These rules are really complicated and detailed. It sounds as though I have to keep track of everything I do and when I do it. Is that what it takes?

TA8:    Just about. When you travel, the best thing is to keep a travel diary or detailed notes on your itinerary and conference schedule so that you can report your time accurately. You don’t have to account for your personal time, but be sure you keep track of the time you’ll need to report as work time so that we can pay you what you earn.

TQ9:   If I know that I am going to have to travel on a day I do not normally work, say Sunday, to keep overtime at a minimum, can we use flexible scheduling to help keep my hours under or at least near 40 hours in the week? 

TA9:    Yes, absolutely. If you are attending a conference and will have travel time that is counted as work time, discuss with your supervisor ahead of time what schedule that week might be fair to you, yet not cause a big hit to the budget. For example, it if looks as though you will exceed 40 hours in that week because of travel time, maybe your supervisor can approve your taking an afternoon off later in the week when you have returned.

TQ10: Is there an example that lists out exactly how this might look for a conference?

TA10:  Yes, take a look at the following travel record. In this example, a nonexempt employee’s normal work schedule is Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The employee is traveling to Orlando for a conference that starts Sunday night and ends mid-day Wednesday.

Sunday (Not normally a work day)

9:40 – 10:40 am Employee drives to Raleigh Durham airport Work time: 1 hour within work hours on non-work day
10:40-11:40 am Employee at airport, clearing security, etc. Work time: 1 hour within work hours on non-work day
11:40 am – 4:10pm Plane in flight Work time: 3.5 hours within work hours on non-work day
4:00 – 5:15pm Shuttle to hotel Work time: .5 hours Within work hours on non-work day for ½ hour and the rest is non-work time because is no longer within normal work hours and is a passenger
5:15 – 6:00 pm In room at hotel No work time Is personal time
6:00 -7:00 pm Opening meeting for Conference Work time: 1 hour Required conference event, is work
7:00 – 9:00 pm Reception & light buffet No work time Optional social event
TOTAL WORK HOURS 7 hours

Monday (Normally a work day)

8:30 – noon Conference sessions Work Time: 3.5 hours Required conference event, is work
12:30 – 4:30 pm Conference sessions Work Time: 4 hours Required conference event, is work
6:00 – 7:30 pm Dinner with friends from conference No work time Personal social event
7:30 – 8 pm Checks email & responds Work time: .5 hours Performing work duties
TOTAL WORK HOURS 8 hours

Tuesday (Normally a work day)

8:30 – noon Conference sessions Work Time: 3.5 hours Required conference event, is work
12:30 – 4:30 pm Conference sessions Work Time: 4 hours Required conference event, is work
6:00 – 7:30 pm Dinner with friends from conference No work time Personal social event
7:30 – 8 pm Checks email & responds Work time: .5 hours Performing work duties
TOTAL WORK HOURS 8 hours

Wednesday (Normally a work day)

8:30 – noon Conference sessions Work time: 3.5 hours Required conference event, is work
12:30 – 1:30 pm Shuttle to airport Work time: 1 hour within work hours
1:30 – 7:30 pm In airport and flight time back to RDU Work time: 3 hours Within work hours for 3 hours and the rest is non-work time because is no longer within normal work hours and is a passenger
7:30 – 8:30 pm Drives from airport to home Work time: 1 hour Employee is driver on work related trip
TOTAL WORK HOURS 8.5 hours

Summary

  • For the work week so far (Sunday – Wednesday), the employee has logged work hours totaling 31.5 hours
  • When the employee arrives at work on Thursday, the employee and supervisor should discuss the employee’s work schedule for the remaining two work days (Thursday and Friday)
  • OPTION 1: If the employee works the normal schedule, the employee will have worked a total of 45.5 hours and incurred overtime payment for 5.5 hours.
  • OPTION 2: Or, if the workload can be managed, the supervisor may use a flexible schedule for the week and the employee may be permitted to work another 8.5 hours and then released to enjoy the rest of the week off. If this scenario is used, the employee will have worked 40 hours with no overtime payment due.
  • OPTION 3: Or, if the workload permits, the supervisor may use a flexible schedule for the week and the employee works a normal schedule on Thursday but does not work at all on Friday. This option results in the employee working 38.5 hours with no overtime payment due.