Non-Exempt Employee Travel

Non-exempt employees don’t fly free! Rules around compensation for travel time haven’t changed, but if you don’t know what they are, now is the time to find out—especially as more employees will be classified as non-exempt under the new overtime rules.

As a general rule, employees need to be paid for any time spent traveling during their regular working hours, regardless of the day of the week and regardless of whether they are a driver or passenger.

Example: An employee usually works Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. They travel to a conference and are on a plane for four hours on Sunday between 1 pm and 5 pm. They need to be paid for all four hours, because those hours fell during the employee’s regularly scheduled work hours. However, employers generally don’t have to pay for time spent traveling outside of regular work hours if the employee is a passenger. So if the employee is on a plane from 4 pm to 8 pm on a Sunday, they need to be paid for their time up through 5 pm, but they do not need to be compensated for the last three hours of the flight.

Travel time pay is an area where state law may be stricter than federal law, such as requiring travel time pay even for time outside of normal working hours, so take the time to investigate before making any travel planning decisions.