Employer Owe Travel Time Overtime Wages for Work-Related Travel?
Los Angeles Employment Law Firm on Travel Time Employment Laws in California
Jobs occasionally require employees to work outside of their standard workplace. If you travel for your job, you may wonder, “Is this travel time considered overtime?” The answer depends on a few different circumstances. Generally, you may be entitled to payment for some of your travel time as well as a portion of your travel expenses. In certain situations, time spent traveling is also subject to overtime under California employment law. If employers fail to compensate for travel time overtime, they are effectively subtracting from wages employees have earned.
Our employment lawyers represent workers throughout Los Angeles and California denied travel time overtime pay and per diem expenses by their employer. Our team of wage attorneys has over four decades of legal experience. We can fight to reclaim your lost wages. If you are considering making a wage claim for travel time overtime, our Los Angeles employment law firm may be able to help you take the necessary steps.
California Travel Time Overtime Laws
The laws surrounding travel time payment and overtime payment in California can be tricky because there are a few different factors involved. First, workers are not entitled to payment for their commute to and from work and should not make wage claims based on their commute. If you have to travel an hour to work each day, it does not count as an hour of work. However, if the commute is from your regular worksite in company-provided transit to a separate worksite, your employer may have to pay you your regular wages for that travel time.
The second question of travel time employment law concerns travel time spent that is part of daily work duties. If an employee is regularly required to travel to different locations during their workday, the travel time from location to location is paid. For those who are not normally required to travel during their workday but called in to do work at their workplace, a separate site for emergencies or special circumstances, travel time to and from the worksite should be paid.
Is Travel Time Overtime in California?
So, is travel time overtime in California? As you can see, travel time is only considered overtime if you are working over your normal forty hours a week, and some travel time is unpaid. Travel time is part of regular wages and you should be paid accordingly. If you do end up working over your normal 40 hours, you are entitled to receive at least 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for each hour worked over 40, per federal employment law.
If an employee is traveling on an overnight trip, employers may be entitled to the pay what employees would receive for a regular workday and overtime pay if the time spent working exceeds 40 hours. Time spent having dinner, sleeping at a hotel or other activities not connected to your employment is not compensable.
If you have more questions about what counts as work during travel time and overtime pay, contact our Los Angeles employment law firm.
Should I be Reimbursed for Business Travel Expenses? California Wage Law
When an employer requires you to travel for work, they are generally required to pay you a per diem rate to cover your lodging, meals and general travel expenses. As the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines them, per diem rates are “daily allowance[s] to employees for business travel away from home within the continental U.S.”
Per diem rates are largely established based on the given destination(s) of the trip, or the general area that you will be working while away from your home office. Within California, travel and work in larger metropolitan areas (like Los Angeles and San Francisco) will have a higher per diem rate than less expensive areas of the state. Per diem rates are established and regulated by the IRS.
California employment law also allows employers to implement a different rate of travel time pay to be no less than California minimum wage. However, to establish this pay rate for travel time, employers must inform workers before travel. For travel time overtime pay in this scenario, the state uses a “weighted average” method. Our California wage attorneys can help you calculate your hours and total compensation for the week to determine what one and a half times this weighted average should be for travel time overtime compensation.
Denied Wages for Work-Related Travel? Call Our Los Angeles Employment Law Firm
If you suspect your employer has been paying you less than the mandated per diem rates or has failed to pay you appropriately for work-related travel, talk to an employment attorney at our Los Angeles employment law firm today. Travel time employment law requires your employer to pay fair wages for the work you do, including time spent traveling for work. Contact our wage attorneys today to schedule a free overtime claim consultation. We may be able to help you recover payment for business expenses or unpaid travel time overtime.