Do we need to pay a remote employee for travel time to the office?

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Question

We have a non-exempt employee who has been working from home. Do we need to pay her for time spent traveling to the office? She’s been asked to drop off some files during her normally scheduled work hours.

Answer

Yes, in this situation, we recommend paying this employee for travel time during her workday. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), tasks performed during the employee’s “continuous workday” are considered paid time (with a few notable exceptions, such as meal breaks). Because she’ll drop the files off at the office during her normally scheduled work hours, it’s most likely considered part of her continuous workday and needs to be paid accordingly. In addition, choosing not to pay her for this time would also mean asking her to do a task that results in her receiving less income than she normally would, which would likely prompt frustration and decrease employee morale. For these reasons, we recommend paying her for this travel time.

Answer by Laura Anderman

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