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Compensation for travel/work in another city Pennsylvania

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  • Compensation for travel/work in another city Pennsylvania

    Question regarding my husband's job/company. He works for a telecommunications subcontractor, and drives around the tri-county area fixing peoples' phone lines from jobs he receives on his computer. He doesn't have a set county that he works, and it could vary from Allegheny down to Fayette each day, but that's his usual area - sometimes 15 minute commute other times 45 minutes - 1 hour. He's paid an hourly rate, once he gets to the job, and he is assessed points depending on the job which could then turn into a bonus. In his normal area he of course is not paid travel time.

    A few months ago he was told by his supervisor that they were trying to expand out to the Somerset area but would need the local guys to go out and do the work until they setup shop and hired people. (In their handbook it states travel could be up to 4 weeks a year.) When they send someone out, which is a 2 hour commute each way, they are paid a slightly higher hourly rate, but are unable to obtain bonus due to lack of points and only pay for 1 hour of the commute. Basically he is losing 3 hours of work/pay each day along with any bonus. This person is doing different work - outside telephone line work and they don't have a working computer. Also, when they send someone out they have to drive each day back and forth, M-F, for the week, sometimes 2. My husband has been sent out there at least 8 different weeks now and has been fighting back about it. They told him if he refused to go they would consider that quitting.

    An additional item to mention about the workers going to Somerset and the so called rotation of the group - my husband was told that out of 6 technicians only he and 1 other would be sent to Somerset to do the work because the others are incapable. When he questioned this he was told that the others are either too old, have too many health problems, are obese, or because one is African American and Somerset is supposedly a Klan area. Yes, he was actually told this by his supervisor.

    So basically our gripes - unfair treatment, lack of payment for travel/work time.

    I've looked all over the Department of Labor's website regarding the FLSA and it seems that this could apply:
    "Home to Work on a Special One Day Assignment in Another City:
    An employee who regularly works at a fixed location in one city is given a special one day assignment in another city and returns home the same day. The time spent in traveling to and returning from the other city is work time, except that the employer may deduct/not count that time the employee would normally spend commuting to the regular work site. "

    BUT, I'm guessing his employer would say that it's more than one day. They could try to say it's still their normal area, but it absolutely isn't due to the lack of working computers and the completely different type of work.

    Any course of action against his employer?

    Thank you in advance

  • #2
    Travel That is All in a Day's Work: Time spent by an employee in travel as part of their principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and must be counted as hours worked.

    This is from Fact Sheet #22 on the DOL website.

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    • #3
      http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/workhours/traveltime.htm
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      • #4
        On the travel time with the special one-day assignment in another city - the normal commute time is deducted before starting the clock on additional travel time. So in your case, if they won't pay for the first hour of commute on local jobs, a 4-hour round trip to Somerset would involve 2 hours of paid travel time. You indicate they are already paying for one hour. That leaves one hour of travel time unpaid. You mention this happening over 8 weeks, and I am not sure if it's more than one day per week, but let's say for argument's sake that it's a total of 8 hours of pay. Your husband could file a wage claim for the unpaid time.

        I do understand that this extra travel time means he is not qualifying for the bonus or actually at work earning wages. That is not illegal.

        Regarding the "unfair treatment" - it is not illegal to make only certain workers drive to Somerset.

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