Determining Compensable 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 site).
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 phone calls.)
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.
Regular meal periods do not count as hours worked.
Time spent sleeping does not count as hours worked.
Travel between hotel and worksite is considered normal commuting time and does not count as hours worked.
If Extension provides hotel accommodations for overnight travel but the employee wishes to drive back home each evening, this time is not counted as hours worked.
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.
Attendance at 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 worked.
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.
The below link should revert to the new Compensation for Overtime link.
See also CESP 3-1, Compensation for Overtime