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When does my compensable time start? Arizona

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  • When does my compensable time start? Arizona

    my employer provides a company vehicle but does not pay for 30 minutes of travel time. I know this is not always compensable. I am required to be on location at start of shift. Travel time can vary anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours. In order to accomodate that I must turn on a company provided smart phone, activate a VPN, log into a CRM program, and change my status in the system to "travel", all before i leave for the day. The company charges the customer for this time when applicable.
    We have no local offices so my time starts from my home.
    Company policy prohibits me from using my vehicle for any personal use.
    Should i be compensated entirely for my travel time?

  • #2
    Barring a bona fide and enforceable contract that expressly states that you are due pay for commuting (and while I add that for accuracy I have never, in 35 years of HR, seen a contract that says that), you are never due pay for the time it takes to get from home to work, or from work to home. You are, generally, due pay for time getting from one work site to another. There is no magic about 30 minutes - if it takes you 30 minutes to get from one site to another you get 30 minutes of pay - if it only takes you 10 minutes to get there you only get 10 minutes of pay. Whether the customer is charged for this time or not is irrelevant.

    The above presumes that you are a non-exempt employee. If you are exempt we're in a whole different ball park.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      You do not mention what you do for work or if you are exempt or non-exempt. Typically, travel to the first appointment of the day is not considered work hours, no matter what vehicle you use. The fact that you must have your phone on during the drive and that your employer may bill a client for that time does not change their obligation to pay you.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #4
        I service and repair ATM's and yes, I am non-exempt. My question wasnt so much regarding pay for commute time but rather if my compensable time should start when i engage in work activity prior to leaving my home. When i say i start my "travel" time what i mean is that i must log into a remote computer network and transmit information stating that I am starting my travel to whatever job location is assigned. at that point they monitor the GPS in my vehicle to confirm that I am en route. Since I must perform other tasks prior to my commute, should my time not start when I must perform those other tasks?

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        • #5
          How much time does it take for you to log into the computer network? Two minutes? Ten minutes? Half an hour?
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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          • #6
            In addition to CBG's question, I have an unrelated issue.
            - Commute time is almost never compensable because there is a very specific 1940s law called the Portal-to-Portal Act which specifically overrides FLSA, including the FLSA "principal activity" rule. There is a ton of case law, including some SCOTUS decisions. Every possible argument was settled a long time ago.
            - Whatever time you spend pre-commute is almost certainly hours worked. So far, so good.
            - The problem is that you are trying to make an FLSA "principal activities" argument to end run around the Portal-to-Portal Act rule and SCOTUS already decided that dog will not hunt, unless you have a lot more facts you have not yet mentioned. There is extremely clear legislative intent that commutes are not hours worked, and what very few exceptions exist show that the trip is not really a commute.
            - What little exists in the way of commute exceptions involve non-commuting vehicles, and narrow use of the 29 CFR 785.33-41 regulations, such as "out of town". "30 minutes" per se is nothing, but there are some potentially interesting rules here.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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