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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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I am an employer in California and our VP of Business Development

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I am an employer in California and our VP of Business Development is salaried and travels all over the US for business which includes some nights and weekends. We pay all his expenses; however, he does not think he should have to take vacation time when he takes personal time off. My question is two part:
1) Should he have to take his pto time for personal time off;
2) Should I be paying him additional salary when traveling?
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Since an employer is under no legal obligation to provide PTO to its employees, an employer can impose any conditions on its use that the employer desires. This means that an employer is entirely free to require an employee to use PTO when he or she takes personal time off.

An employer must typically pay an employee for travel time because this is time that an employee is "under the control" of the employer, and thus is "working." The following opinion letter from the DLSE thoroughly addresses the question of the extent to which travel time must be paid for:

Of particular note, the DLSE states as follows:

"Time spent driving, or as a passenger on an airplane, train, bus, taxi cab or car, or other mode of transport, in travling to and from this out-of-town event, and time spent waiting to purchase a ticket, check baggage, or get on board, is under such cirumstnaces, time spent carrying out the employer's directives, and thus, can only be characterized as time in which the employee is subject to the employer's control. Such compelled travel time therefore constitutes compensable "hours worked." On the other hand, time spent taking a break from travel in order to eat a meal, sleep, or engage in purely personal pursuits not connected with traveling or making necessary travel connections (such as, for example, spending an extra day in a city before the start or following the conclusion of a conference in order to sightsee), is not compensable."

Although travel time is compensable, a salaried employee who is overtime exempt will receive the same wage regardless of the number of hours worked, and so this additional analysis becomes irrelevant in that case. If this particular employee is overtime exempt (which is a separate and complicated issue in its own right), then an employer would have no obligation to provide additional compensation for travel time, though the employee's travel expenses (place tickets, gas if traveling by car, hotel, etc.) would still need to be reimbursed.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

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Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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