Cooperative Extension Service
Travel Time for Non-Exempt Employees
Under the Fair Labor
Standards Act (FLSA) a non-exempt employee (at Extension, this is generally
an employee in a classified position) must be paid for all hours the
employee is “suffered or permitted to work.” This summary addresses under
what circumstances time spent traveling is considered compensable (i.e., the
time is counted as hours worked).
In general, FLSA
does not consider ordinary commuting as hours worked. Ordinary commute
time is not compensable. However, such travel would be compensable if it
is clearly work related. For example, making business calls, running
business errands, picking up supplies while traveling from home to work
or vice versa is considered compensable if it is work related.
In general, travel
during the work day that is part of Extension's principal business
activity counts as hours worked. (e.g., travel from job site to job
Travel time within
one day (not overnight) to/from Extension training or conferences counts
as hours worked.
Driving a vehicle,
regardless of whether the travel takes place within or outside normal
work hours, counts as hours worked. The act of driving is considered
manual labor activity which must be counted as hours worked if it is for
the benefit of Extension.
Riding as a
passenger outside of normal work hours via airplane, train, boat, bus or
automobile does not count as hours worked. The act of riding as a
passenger is not considered work.
If an employee is
required to perform work while traveling, the time worked is considered
compensable (e.g., answering business e-mail, taking business-related
Time spent waiting
at the airport counts as hours worked if it occurs within normal work
hours. However, time spent waiting at the airport outside of normal work
hours does not count as hours worked.
periods do not count as hours worked.
Time spent sleeping
does not count as hours worked.
hotel and worksite is considered normal commuting time and does not
count as hours worked.
provides hotel accommodations for overnight travel but the employee
wishes to drive back home each evening, this time is not counted as
When attending a
conference, the employee is not compensated for time when not engaged in
work even if it occurs within the employee's regular work schedule
(e.g., employee decides to go to the movies or explore the city instead
of attending a session of the conference). Such “free time” would be
reported as annual leave.
mandatory, organized activities during a conference or training is
counted as hours worked.
- Rest periods of short duration (five to twenty minutes) during a
conference or meeting, e.g., snack or coffee breaks, are considered time
- Employees working at an Extension activity or event (e.g., O'Rama)
may be considered volunteers only if all the following criteria are met:
 the services performed are totally unrelated to their regular work,
 they have offered their services freely and without any pressure
(direct or implied) from the supervisor, and  they have not been
promised, or do not expect, compensation for their services. If all
criteria are met, the volunteer time and travel are not considered
compensable. Otherwise, services and travel related to the activity or
event counts as hours worked per the guidelines above.
CESP 3-1, Compensation for Overtime