Not Paying for Travel Time

Millions of employees across the country go to work every day expecting to be paid for the time they spend doing their jobs. For many, that includes time spent traveling to and from different locations for work-related activities. If you believe that you have been wrongly denied pay for travel and commuting time, contact the Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center. Representing clients throughout the country, we are dedicated to ensuring that workers are paid for the time they spend on the job.

Generally, workers are entitled to be compensated for travel time during normal work hours. While normal, day-to-day commuting is typically not compensable, an employee required to commute to a location outside the business' general commuting area may be considered "on the job" and therefore required to be paid for this time.

In order to be eligible to be paid for travel and commuting time, a worker must be classified as "non-exempt" under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that governs a whole host of wage and hour issues, from minimum wages and overtime pay to record keeping and seasonal employment. More than 130 million employees in the U.S. are "non-exempt" workers covered under the law. The others ("exempt" workers) are primarily employees in "white collar" jobs, such as lawyers, doctors, accountants and outside sales professionals.

Non-exempt workers who travel to various locations during their workdays are typically entitled to be paid for this travel time. That includes employees who travel between construction or other job sites - warehouses, retail stores and restaurants, etc. - during the day. The commutes from home to the first site and from the last site back to home are generally not compensable, however, unless they involve a special assignment or travel otherwise outside of the worker's normal commute.

The law gets a little more complicated for longer, overnight trips. The travel to and from an airport and all hours logged on a plane as well as traveling to and from the final destination is all compensable, so long as it happens during general work hours.

A worker who is denied pay for travel time not only loses out on the regular compensation to which he or she is entitled, but also potentially on the ability to earn overtime pay at a higher rate. The FLSA requires employers to pay non-exempt employees at a rate of 1½ times his or her usual hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 40 in a given week. Simply put, a worker who isn't paid for travel time has to work more hours in order to get to the 40-hour threshold at which overtime kicks in.

Sometimes workers are wrongly denied pay for travel time because they travel infrequently and the employer, employee, or both, are not aware of the applicable legal guidelines. Other times, it's because the employer simply doesn't want to pay the money. In either scenario, a worker is entitled to sue for back pay and other damages.

At the Chicago Overtime Law Center, our employment lawyers are highly experienced in legal issues related to payment for travel and commuting time. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our Chicago overtime attorneys, please contact us online or at (312) 869-4095.