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Travel Time (North Carolina) North Dakota North Carolina

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  • Travel Time (North Carolina) North Dakota North Carolina

    I am now in management at a communications firm in Raleigh, NC. My concern is that recently one of our project managers formulated an e-mail regarding our employee's travel time. Our company works in South Carolina, Georgia, as well as North Carolina and all the guys are paid a per-diem (in cash) and all have their hotel rooms paid for via a company credit card and reservations made from our office. Historically no matter where the guys reside in their hotels they are paid travel time (the full hourly wage) to get to their respective jobsites in the morning and to return in the afternoon. The e-mail I mentioned earlier stated that from a certain point forward that the employees are not to be compensated nothing at all for their travel time no matter how long or far the jobsites are. I personally don't know or understand the 'travel time' labor/wage laws for N. Carolina nor am I sure that changing wage schedules for such a large group of employees via e-mail alone is legitimate as well. In my former experience with companies in the same line of work they were always very clear to have the employees sign on and agree to a wage reduction or forfeit the travel compensation for a compensation per mile standard such as a typical truck driver would receive traveling to their destination.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    North Dakota does not apply, a mistake. Another question I have is that a lot of states such as N. Carolina consider per-diem as income. So is it really legitimate to pay out per-diem as cash in hand as well as pay for the hotels via third party credit card transactions?

    I appears to me as one of those 'under the radar' type of deals....?

    any thoughts?


    • #3
      I can answer the question that yes, they can make changes and notify via email and do not need the employees consent as long as it is prospective and not a retro change.

      Travel time under FLSA is this "Travel Away from Home Community: Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight is travel away from home. Travel away from home is clearly work time when it cuts across the employee's workday. The time is not only hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours but also during corresponding hours on nonworking days. As an enforcement policy the Division will not consider as work time that time spent in travel away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile."

      So generally the time it takes to get to the worksite outside of regular working hours need not be paid under federal rules.

      NC states "The time an employee spends driving or riding as a part of their job may or may not be hours worked based on the circumstances and under certain conditions. Regular home-to-work and work-to-home travel is normally not work-time. Travel from the employer's office to a worksite and travel from the worksite back to the employer's office is work-time for the driver of a company vehicle. Travel from the employer's office to a worksite and travel from the worksite back to the employer's office is not work-time for a rider in a company vehicle as long as the following conditions are met: (1) the riding to and from the worksite and office in the company vehicle is optional and not mandatory, (2) for the trip to the first or only worksite, the rider does not help to load the company vehicle at the office, and (3) for the trip from the last or only worksite back to the office, the rider does not help to unload the company vehicle once back at the office. The travel-time between worksites is work-time for both drivers and riders regardless if using a company vehicle or an employee's personal vehicle." and then points back to the DOL FLSA regulations that I showed above.

      I would suspect that since the employer is picking the hotel that they would pick one as close to the jobsite as possible. I know it stinks to travel and to your employees it feels like a takeaway, but many employers view this type of travel (hotel->worksite-< hotel) to be the same as your normal commute to the office and that does not have to be compensated.

      I know nothing about NC per diem or hotel expenses other than my husband works in NC and I have not seen where he has been taxed on hotel expenses OR per diem except when we were here making house hunting trips and that fell under a different reimbursement category than regular expenses.