There are a variety of laws and regulations, both federal and state, regarding how employers must compensate employees for workplace travel time. However, the basic thing to remember is that any travel on company business within a normal workday is compensable. Texas and federal laws protect employees travel wages so if you have any questions about these regulations and how they apply to your specific case, reach out to a qualified Texas travel time lawyer.
What the Law Says About Travel Time
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has regulations that make it mandatory for an employer to pay an employee for travel time that cuts across a normal workday, regardless of whether the travel occurs on a day the employee is usually scheduled to work. This regulation hinges on the question of whether or not the travel is considered working time.
Your normal daily commute to and from work is not considered work time travel. However, home to work travel outside of your regular commute hours may be compensable if your employer called you back to work on an emergency basis. Whether or not this is the case in your situation will depend since the courts decide what constitutes work time travel on case-by-case basis.
Compensable travel time also includes travel between worksites during a workday, travel to a temporary assignment in another city, and worked performed while traveling (i.e. from a plane or taxi). Deciding whether overnight travel time counts as compensable time can be tricky, but an Austin employment law attorney at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers can help. If an employee travels outside of normal working hours, even to perform a work-related duty, the time isn’t compensable.
Is Travel Time Considered Overtime?
Travel time within your normal workday or for emergency visits to work outside of normal hours is not classified as overtime. However, if travel time results in overtime hours, it may result in overtime pay depending on your employment agreement. The DOL states that travel time must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay unless the employer and employee have an agreement stating otherwise. For example, many employers pay employees at a lower rate than their standard pay for travel time.
Overtime calculations concerning travel time can be complex, and it might be in your best interest to hire an overtime lawyer with experience in travel time wage laws to determine if your employer is upholding your rights.
What If My Employer Doesn’t Pay Me for Travel Time?
If your travel time qualifies as paid, yet your employer fails to pay you for the time you spend traveling, you may have a case for wage theft. Employers frequently fail to pay employees for compensable travel time as defined by Texas and federal laws. In these situations, the employee can file a claim for unpaid wages and pursue lost wages in court.
If the courts find an employer guilty of wage theft, employees may be eligible to receive financial compensation for damages. Compensation can include back wages, lost wages, attorney’s fees, court costs, and other compensatory damages.
Consult a Knowledgeable Texas Travel Time Attorney
For skilled, reliable assistance with travel time and other wage dispute cases, trust the wage and hour attorneys at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers in Texas. Paid travel time laws can be complex, leaving you unsure of your rights as a traveling employee. For more information about travel time laws and to discuss your individual case, contact us online or by phone at 512-474-7677.