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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I work in CA company in North Carolina. I provide training,

Customer Question

I work in CA for a company in North Carolina. I provide training, and development to companies as a coach. I am working 18 to 20 days a month in various areas of the country. Extensive travel away from home. My company pays me a daily rate for work on site. In California are they not supposed to pay for travel? They state they only pay if I am travelling a full 8 hours.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Good evening and welcome. When you say "pay for travel" do you mean pay for your travel expenses, or pay you for the time you spend traveling? If the latter, are you paid hourly or salary? I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Client pays for travel expenses. Company does not pay for time spent travelling. Paid for time travelling is the question. I have never been told if I am exempt or non-exempt. I am paid a daily rate while on site at a client.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you very much.

Are you a contractor (you receive a 1099) or an employee (you receive a W2)? Also, please help me reconcile these statements: You say that you are paid a daily rate while on site, but you also say that you are only paid for travel if it is a full 8 hours? Would that be in addition to the daily rate?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I am a W2 employee. I am paid a "daily rate" while working on site at a client. I have to fly to these destinations, rent a car, sleep in a hotel room etc. If by flying/driving it takes me 8 hours or more to make it to the particular location I am being paid my "daily rate" the company pays 200 for a travel day. This occurs very infrequently. Thus they do not pay me for time traveling to clients, and back to my remote home office in California. I clock in and start my day when I arrive on site. I am not required to clock out, but I am required to clock in. For example: I am waking up at 3 am tomorrow. Flying to Phoenix. I will leave my home in CA at 4am to go to the airport. Arrive in Phoenix at 8am. Drive to the client. Clock in and work at 9am. Leave the client at 5pm to 6pm. Go to a hotel eat, sleep etc. stay 2 more days. Fly to Orange County next after leaving on Wed. Get in at 9pm. Check in to a hotel. Arrive on site at another client. Clock in work 2 days. Then fly home to northern CA that evening. Then arriving at home around 9pm. Should they pay me for my travel time?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you again.

First, if you are based in CA then California law would generally protect you. This is significant here because California law is more employee-friendly on the issue of compensable travel time than is federal law or the law in most other states (which defer to federal law).

I will quote the CA Labor Commissioner, which described an employer's obligation to pay for travel time for out of town events as follows:

"Under state law, if an employer requires an employee to attend an out—of—town business meeting, training session, or any other event, the employer cannot disclaim an obligation to pay for the employee's time in getting to and from the location of that event. Time spent driving, or as a passenger on an airplane, train, bus, taxi cab or car, or other mode of transport, in traveling 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 circumstances, 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." (Source)

So, to answer your question directly, the travel time that you are engaged in should be compensable under CA law because it is time during which you are under the control of your employer carrying out their interests. This is despite the fact that federal law only requires employers to pay for travel time to the extent that such time "cuts across the regular workday." Accordingly, you may wish to consider filing a wage claim with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement to enforce your right to unpaid travel time. You may also wish to begin closely documenting your travel time so that it is more easy for you to prove the unpaid hours you worked for which you weren't paid.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
If I am remote in California. No office here. I am directed to travel 18 to 20 days which requires sleeping somewhere else, flying etc. they have to pay me. Got it. Now should I bring it to the company attention, or labor board. Won't the labor board ask if I brought it to the company attention first?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

You are not required by law to bring the issue to your employer's attention before filing a wage claim. However, it may be in your best interest to see if there is a way to resolve this matter informally with your employer first. You can give them a copy of the Labor Commissioner opinion I linked to above in support of your position. Just keep your communication non-threatening and more about "figuring out" the appropriate way to compensate you for your time rather than aggressively making demands.

I hope this helps. Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Was there anything else I can do?

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

I am just following up because this question still appears to be open. Are you able to read my messages? Please let me know....

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