Flexibility was the name of the game for getting work done in 2020. And Benefit pros had to deal with some confusing situations, like whether travel time is compensable under FLSA when employees split their work time between the office and home in alternating days or the same day.
To help clear up any confusion, the DOL provided answers to this situation for two scenarios.
Both cases revolve around an employee, who works 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and has a one-hour commute to and from her office.
1. The employee has a parent/teacher conference from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. and, with permission, leaves the office at 1:00 p.m. to drive 30 minutes to the school. Afterward, she drives 30 minutes home and starts working right away or one to two hours later. Is the commuting time to and from the school compensable?
2. This time the employee has an 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. doctor’s appointment and works from home from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., then stops to do personal chores and leaves for her appointment at 8:00 a.m. She leaves her appointment at 9:15 a.m. and gets to her office at 9:30 a.m. She leaves work at the normal time and commutes home. No work is done once she is at home. Is the commute time from her home to the appointment, from the appointment to the office and from the office to home – where she first began working – compensable?
The answer to both scenarios is no.
In the first scenario, the travel time isn’t compensable because the employee is off duty or engaged in normal commuting.
In scenario two, she’s off duty at 6:00 a.m. and her time remains non-compensable until she reaches the office and starts working again. Her commute home at the end of her workday is considered normal commuting and non-compensable.