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  • Working overseas California California

    Our company provides machines necessary to be a player in the fiber optic industry
    I build machines that make fiber optic glass. These machines are quite large and require a team to install and set up at customers plant, once built.
    That means our company must provide a service crew to set them up at the customers location.

    Our customers are overseas in Asia and India

    Flight time to the last location was 14 hours to one spot,then 3.5 hours to the next with 1.5 hours layover. Airport to hotel time approx. 20 hours

    We work 10+ hours a day, 6 days a week. Having Sunday off.
    We get an amount for travel time pay, which is added to our wages thus taxed. I am aware the laws regarding travel pay are vague at best.
    Right now we get our reg. pay including overtime per Ca. regulations...with $2 per hour extra for oversea compensation.

    My queation is: Does California have a requirement that my employer must adhiere to in reguards to overseas pay?

    Im a non-exempt technician. I get paid hourly.

    From the time I arrive at the airport to the time I return to the US, I am under the control of my employer. And doing the companys bidding. Hotel rooms and meals are provided as is transport to and from the jobsite. I dont expect to be paid on my days off, as we are free to do as we please.(i.e. sightseeing or shopping) We are still in a forign land and cant very well go home. Thus still in the companys control.

    If someone could give me some sort of guideline as to what Ca law requires my employer to pay me, I would appreciate it.
    Am I being treated fairly?...according to the law.

    Thank you,

    Concerned in Cali

  • #2
    Are you asking whether or not CA law requires that you be paid for the entire time you are overseas other than your days off? If so, the answer is no, there is no such CA law.
    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
      what do you mean when you state you get "an amount for travel time pay"? Depending on the answer you may or may be paid correctly. But honestly the fact that they are paying you some travel time pay means that (1) they know they should and (2) it would be crazy for them to not pay you according to federal and CA state laws as employer penalties in CA can get rather large for not paying correctly.

      Generally travel time must be paid (under federal law) via the FLSA : "Time spent traveling during normal work hours is considered compensable work time." So when you say you work 10+ hours per day (for example 8am to 6pm), you generally should get paid for travel in that same time block (8am-6pm). So whatever time in your 20 hours of travel crosses over that time block, it is my understanding that you should be paid --but generally you would NOT be required to be paid for all 20 hours....regardless of what day of the week that it is that you are traveling.

      Otherwise they are only required to pay you for hours worked.

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      • #4
        Federal rules are "hours worked". CA rules are "hours controlled", so the OP has half an argument. The problem is that it has been tried before and his side lost (a lot). CA has a clear definition of "controlled" and it does not mean "away from home". I do not know about overseas but building contractors and nurses brought in from out of state to CA have tried exactly the argument and have without exception lost in court.

        You can always try calling CA-DLSE. Their's is the only opinion that actually matters.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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        • #5
          Clarification of "an amount"

          when I said "an amount" this is what I ment ...

          According to Ca law the company must pay for travel time, but different pay rate for travel pay is permissible, as long as it is not lower than current min wage CA-DLSE 46.1.11

          I didn't want to be stuck with min wage for my travel. So I negotiated... I added up what half my base pay would amount to, without overtime,
          and using the approx. time it would take from airport departure to hotel arrival. I came up with about $500

          I proposed that to my manager. And that has been the amount that they pay...that was two years ago.
          Flights to India are longer and they pay $750...This is paid going to the job and also returning home.

          They include this to our wages so it gets taxed a lot. Also it raises me into a higher tax bracket and its just like getting almost nothing. I do think that could be another thread though.
          Last edited by dsrosem; 12-22-2017, 10:04 PM. Reason: DLSE code added for referance

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          • #6
            If I am reading you correctly, you are already being paid more than the law requires.
            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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