A common FLSA-related question we get relates to time spent traveling to the work site. Many employees have jobs that require them to drive from home to various work sites. The company often does not provide such workers with a vehicle to drive so they have to use their own and they only start getting paid for their time after they arrive at the work site. Is this legal?
Generally speaking, time spent traveling during normal work hours is considered compensable work time. Time spent in home-to-work travel by an employee in an employer-provided vehicle, or in activities performed by an employee that are incidental to the use of the vehicle for commuting, generally does not have to be paid. This commuting exception applies only if the travel is within the normal commuting area for the employer's business and the use of the vehicle is subject to an agreement between the employer and the employee.
So, a good general rule of thumb is to think of it in terms of commuting. The FLSA does not require an employer to pay you for what would be considered a normal pre-work or after-work commute - even if it is to a different location in town than your normal workplace. However, requiring you to drive to another city or another work site during normal working hours may be considered to be compensable.
Note: As with many legal answers, the correct answer will vary depending on the particular facts of each case and the law of your particular jurisdiction. Questions involving the FLSA and compensation for types of work or pre- and post-work activity are highly fact sensitive. You SHOULD NOT rely on anything you read on this site or any other website as a definitive answer for your situation. This website is not legal advice. You SHOULD consult with a qualified employment law specialist in your area to get a legal opinion specific to your situation and jurisdiction.