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WHD Issues Opinion Letter to Address Compensability of Employee Travel Time Involving Construction Sites Located Away from An Employer’s Principal Business

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued a new opinion letter (FLSA2020-16) addressing the compensability of employee travel time in certain situations involving construction sites located away from an employer’s principal place of business.  The scenarios presented involve: (1) foremen who drive work trucks between the employer’s principle place of business and a given job site, either at the beginning and end of each day (in the context of “local” job sites) or at the beginning and end of a given job (in the context of “remote” job sites); and (2) “laborers” who either drive directly from home to a given job site (whether local or remote) or drive to the employer’s principle place of business to ride with a foreman to the job site. 

WHD concludes that a foreman’s travel time between the employer’s principle place of business and the job site (whether local or remote) is compensable in each presented scenario, while a foreman’s trip from home to the employer’s place of business is ordinary home-to-work commuting and is not compensable.  With respect to laborers, WHD states that daily travel time to and from a local job site (regardless of whether they ride with a foreman from the employer’s principle place of business) is not compensable.  WHD adds that laborers’ travel time to and from a remote location where they are away from home overnight and commute at the beginning and end of a job (as opposed to the beginning and end of each day) may or may not be compensable based on when the laborer travels.  If laborers are traveling to the remote job site outside of their normal working hours, WHD would not consider their time to be compensable.  If the laborers are traveling to the remote site during their normal work hours, even if not on normal workdays, their time would be compensable.  WHD also notes that if an employer offers laborers the opportunity to ride to a remote worksite with foremen in company vehicles as passengers, the employer may choose to count as compensable hours worked either: (1) the time that accrues during a trip in the company trucks; or (2) the time that laborers actually take to travel to the remote worksite, if the laborer chooses to drive his own vehicle.  Finally, WHD addresses the scenario in which laborers choose to drive between a remote job site and their homes each day, as opposed to travelling to and from home at the beginning and end of a job.  In this context, laborers’ intervening drives home and back to the remote worksite between the beginning and end of the job would not be compensable.

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