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Light duty - Hotel paid but not meals? Arkansas

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  • Light duty - Hotel paid but not meals? Arkansas

    My husband fractured the navicular bone in his foot on-the-job. He is a surveyor's aide in Arkansas, and his job requires constant travel, usually hundreds of miles from home. His employer reimburses him for hotel stays, and pays a meal allowance for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    The WC doctor released him back to work with restrictions and he has been given light duty. What the light duty consists of is, basically, he is to do the work up to the point of his restrictions (so many hours of walking, standing, etc.), then he's been told he must go back to the hotel if he's unable to do the work the crew is doing on the job site. His employer has told him they will reimburse him for the hotel room even if he's sitting in it unable to work, but that they will not pay for meals if he's unable to work the full day.

    My question is, is it legal for them to deny the meal allowance when they require him to be there on the job, and the meal allowance is part of his reimbursement?

  • #2
    The law does not require that he be paid for his meals OR the hotel at all...
    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
      Originally posted by cbg View Post
      The law does not require that he be paid for his meals OR the hotel at all...
      But those are part of his wages and benefits as a surveyor's aide. This is from the Personnel manual:

      If an employee’s job requires overnight travel on Department business, the Department will reimburse the employee for transportation, lodging and meals.
      Last edited by Kaliyuga; 03-06-2013, 09:49 AM.

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      • #4
        Your husband is free to take the personnel manual in its entirety to a local attorney to determine whether it rises to the level of a legally enforceable contract. The vast majority do not, and I would bet that it may have a statement attesting to the employer's right to modify it at any time.. Absent a legally enforceable contract, cbg is correct to say that the emplpoyer does not have to provide the hotel room or the meals.
        I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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        • #5
          Agreed. If we were looking at federal law only (FLSA), that law looks at minimum wage, overtime and not much else. There is exeactly one state (CA) which has laws requiring the possible reimbursement of meals as a business expense. Other then that, there is no statutory labor law requiring reimbursement of meals.

          If we are talking about non-labor law remedies, then things like contract law or common law are possibilities. But these are all far from sure things, and involve either talking to an attorney (who will actually have to read all applicable documents) or a small claims court action (aslo not a sure thing).
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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          • #6
            Thank you for the information. Doesn't seem right, but like they say, what's right and what's legal isn't necessarily the same thing.

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