As job markets and economies become increasingly intertwined due to new and emerging technology, more and more Americans are being required by their employers to travel for work. According to a study by the United States Department of Transportation, Americans make approximately 405 million long-distance trips for work each year. Use of a personal vehicle for a business trip accounts for 81% of business travel, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
So when does your employer have to compensate you for travel time? According to the Code of Massachusetts Regulations:
“an employee required or directed to travel from one place to another after the beginning of or before the close of the work day shall be compensated for all travel time and shall be reimbursed for all transportation expenses.” 455 Code Mass. Regs. § 2.03.
According to this regulation, an employee should be paid for travel expenses and wages for the time he or she is required to travel during the work day. An example of this is an employer with multiple offices or job sites who requires an employee to travel between those job sites as a part of the employee’s work. When an employee is using his or her personal vehicle, expenses must be reimbursed at least at the federal rate, which is currently 53.5 cents per mile as of January 1, 2017. The employer may set a different rate for travel time which may not be less than the minimum wage, and all compensable travel time should be included when computing whether the employee has worked more than forty (40) hours in any given week for the purposes of overtime pay.
In general, commuting time to and from work is not considered travel time and the employer is not required to pay for it, with two exceptions: 1) where the employee is required or allowed to principally work from home, the workday then generally begins at home and any travel to the employer’s office location or other business-related travel may be considered travel done as part of the employee’s workday; and 2) when the employee is required to travel to a different worksite outside of his or her regular fixed location, compensation for the travel time in excess of the ordinary travel time is required.
Does your employer require you to use your personal vehicle for business travel, without adequate reimbursement? Schedule your free, confidential consultation with Petkov Law to learn how we can help you.