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Just to confirm, you are would like to know how to pay your workers for travel time between jobs, is that correct? In addition, are your workers independent contractors or W2? For background information, can you describe what kind of service company are you?
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That is correct. I need to know if we have to pay our employees from the time they start (leaving their homes) to the time they are under done working (to their home). Or can we pay them per job and give a bonus of an hour travel time per job. Our employees are w2. We do electrical work for corporate accounts.
According to the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) Travel time between job sites is definitely paid time, so employees must receive pay for that time. As far as the first and/or last job sites, if those job sites are in the “normal commuting area” of the employee then you do not need to pay extra. However if the first and/or last sites are outside the employee's “normal commuting area” then generally you account for the time it would take the employee to return to get to their normal commuting area. You must ask what is then “normal commuting area”? Well neither the FLSA nor nor the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor define the meaning. So it is left up to you reasonableness. Personally I would err on the side of caution and add if you have the sense that they are going outside their commuting area just to be on the safe side.
The FLSA applies to Puerto Rico as well.
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What if we paid our employees a salary? Would we still have to pay for travel, if the job is traveling from job to job?
Even if you pay them a salary these are most likely non exempt employees (i.e. employees that are subject to overtime) therefore you need to do some math (yearly salary / yearly hours) and come up with their hourly rate and apply the hourly rate to the travel time.
What do you mean when you say apply the hourly rate to the travel time? pay them salary plus their travel time from job to job? Do we have to pay them from when they leave their house to the first job site? Or start from their first job site to the second job?
This is getting into an area that is outside the original question so I will briefly explain it and if you have any further questions you can start a separate question and request me.
Most likely your workers are non exempt meaning that regardless of how you think you pay them, the Dept of Labor mandates that they get paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week. So you may think you're paying them 50K a year but in reality if they work 50 weeks at 40 hours each week then they work 2000 hours a year. If you divide 50K/2k the hourly wage would be $25. Basically the clock starts ticking from the moment they arrive from home to their "normal commuting area” and then proceed to the 1st job site. At the end of the day the clock would stop ticking when they arrived from their job site back to the normal commuting area. If the total time worked (including the drive time as just noted) in a week is more than 40 hours you will most likely need to pay over time based on the $25 an hour figure I noted before.
Employment law is not easy...
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