Good Guys Construction Co. allows employees to travel to the shop the night before to pack the tools and supplies they need for the next day. That way, employees can drive from their homes directly to the jobsite in the morning. Employees are not paid for their evening travel time to the shop; they are paid from the time they arrive at the jobsite to the time they leave. All employees have agreed to this policy.
Why it’s wrong
When employees travel from home directly to the jobsite, they are not required to be paid for this time. This is the case with the morning commute of Good Guys Construction’s employees from their homes to the jobsite. Where Good Guys Construction violates Wage and Hour regulations is in how they handle the time employees spend in the evening driving from the jobsite to the shop. Since employees are not leaving the jobsite to go directly home but are instead first stopping at the shop, this time would be considered hours worked and needs to be paid. Once the employee leaves the shop to return home, driving time would be unpaid.
What you should do
Carefully review your hours worked and payroll procedures. Understand that travel time during the regular workday typically needs to be paid, unless the employee is directly leaving from or returning to home. Even if employees agree to another arrangement that is contrary to Wage and Hour regulations, the Department of Labor will enforce this law.
Douglas Delp is founder of The Delp Group (delpgroup.com), which provides human resources services to small businesses.