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Payment for travel time Arkansas

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  • Payment for travel time Arkansas

    Recently my husband was sent to a certification training for his employment 400 miles (7.5 hrs) away while he was on his 2-weeks off. (His "normal" working hours are 14 days on/14 days off, referred to as "hitches", working 6a-6p one hitch and 6p-6a the next). Not only did they not provide transportation OR mileage reimbursement but when questioned about being paid for the time he traveled, their response was, "it's our policy that we don't pay for travel expenses, except hotel accommodations across all divisions". I mentioned the DOL rule to 2 different people, who responded that they would "do some research & get back to me"...which they have not. He is now facing a lay-off & he hasn't received pay for these 15 hrs. Due to the salary restrictions with filing a wage claim with the DOL, we can't get their help. My questions are...Am I right in stating by federal law, he is to be paid for these hours? If he's laid off without getting those hrs. paid, does the employer face the same penalties as with receiving a "last paycheck"? And since he makes more than the limit in AR to file a claim with DOL, what are our options with getting these hrs?

    Thank you!!

  • #2
    Mileage ever has to be paid in your state. Is your husband non-exempt or exempt? The DOL does not limit enforcement based on salary. Bill Gates could file a claim if he felt there was a violation. If he is owed more than $2000, you would file in small claims court at the state level. Federal has no such rule. It is unlikely that a dispute over hours owed would constitute not receiving a final paycheck but it would be up to the DOL or judge to make that determination.

    In any case, your husband needs to be the one pursuing this, not you. Most employers will not deal with the spouse, friend, parent, or other related party. If he wants answers, he is the one who needs to handle it.
    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.


    • #3
      You have raised and combined two very unrelated issues.

      - For expenxes only, there is no general federal rule that travel (or any other) expenses must be reimbursed or paid. There is a very narrow exception for employees paid at or near minimum wage must be paid minimum wage "free and clear" of employer imposed obligations, which would include unreimbursement business expense. There is exactly one state (CA) which has a rule requiring all business expenses be reimbursed and one more state (MA) which has a much more limited rule for mileage only. The other 48 states do not have a statutory labor law business expense rule. HOWEVER not all law is labor law. If you file a small claims court action there is a CHANCE that you will win.

      - Travel time is a very different issue. The key here is Exempt status. If you are both Exempt and Salaried, then you have no legal expectation of ever receiving additional pay past the salary, meaning travel time is not an issue. But if you instead are either non-exempt or both Exempt and Hourly, then you are paid based on hours worked. At that point travel time because an issue. The federal travel time rules are 29 CFR 785.33-785.41.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


      • #4
        RoughneckWife is correct. I worked for a company for only 2 1/2 days one time years ago. They refused to pay me. I filed a complaint with the DOL. I was sent a questionnaire and one of the questions was what my income had been in the prior year. After I turned it in I recieved a letter that stated I made too much money, they could not help me. They recommended retaining a lawyer. It was only a small amount so I never pursued it. Still makes me mad all these years later! LOL


        • #5
          He is classifies as a non-exempt, hourly employee. I'm not concerned as much about business expenses, since we can claim on our taxes. It's the time spent driving to & from this training. However, now they are claiming that it was "voluntary" and due to this and that it was done while he was OFF work, they don't have to pay. I realize HE is the one that should handle this but they are fine with talking to me...there is history here. Arkansas does have a salary restriction of $25,000, which of you make more than this annually, you can't file a claim with I wondered how this is possible that they could clearly defy this law & have no reproccussions. Now, with this new info of it being "voluntary", I'm sure there is a loophole they are playing.


          • #6
            Regarding whether not training is hours worked, "voluntary" is an issue but it is only one of four criteria looked at.


            Lectures, Meetings and Training Programs: Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities need not be counted as working time only if four criteria are met, namely: it is outside normal hours, it is voluntary, not job related, and no other work is concurrently performed.

            Regarding Arkansas, not my state and I have no idea what rules specific to that state are. I can say that federal rules (FLSA) are applicable in all states.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


            • #7
              Was this training for a professional certfication to allow him to work in the field generally?
              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.


              • #8
                Yes, it's a certification that is required to hold the next level position. This is a standard within this field, not just this company. However, it's not required in his current position. The HR Rep even told me that because this isn't required for the position he currently holds, it's voluntary but if he was already in the position where it is required, then they would have to pay for travel time.


                • #9
                  In the company view:

                  The training was voluntary.
                  It was not held during working hours.
                  He did not work during the training.
                  It was not related to his current job.

                  I really think they have a leg to stand on here.

                  The only part that may wobble here is the "voluntary" part - does he have anything from his boss that says, "you need to go to this training, I've signed you up, show up on these dates" or did your husband ask if he could go and the boss said, "no problem, that's on your off-days, enjoy yourself."


                  • #10
                    There is no obligation for them to cover this training time nor the travel for the training. Coursework that is of a general nature and for a job you do not currently hold is not considered hours worked therefore the time it takes to get to such training would also not be hours worked. Look at it this way; if he was getting his MBA in the evenings would you expect the employer to pay for his time driving to and from the college each classday?

                    If they paid for any part of this training, they did more than was required.

                    ยง 785.29 Training directly related to employee's job.
                    The training is directly related to the employee's job if it is designed to make the employee handle his job more effectively as distinguished from training him for another job, or to a new or additional skill. ..... Where a training course is instituted for the bona fide purpose of preparing for advancement through upgrading the employee to a higher skill, and is not intended to make the employee more efficient in his present job, the training is not considered directly related to the employee's job even though the course incidentally improves his skill in doing his regular work.[30 FR 9912, Aug, 10, 1965]
                    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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