Complete Labor Law Poster for $24.95
from, includes
State, Federal, & OSHA posting requirements


No announcement yet.

Remote Employees - Start/End Times California

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Remote Employees - Start/End Times California

    Hello, everyone! I am a long-time lurker on this board and hope to utilize the resources (you!) better moving forward. You're all a ton of great information and while I usually find the answers I need here, this is the first time I need to post a question.

    I am a field operations manager, and have 60 field employees state-wide (in addition to 25 office EE's!). For the most part, my field employees start and end their day at a field office close to where they live, and clock in and out from said location. They pick up and drop off work there.

    However, I have two "floater" employees who live close to headquarters and are assigned to whichever location they are needed in for the day. The EE's are notified the previous night of the assigned location. The offices I send these EE's to are no more than a 30-mile drive from headquarters. They typically start and end their day at headquarters and drive to the field location, and we would pay for their drive time at the start and end of day.

    Looking at how to improve efficiency, I would like them to start and end their day at their assigned field location. This would allow me to use them for an additional 1-2 hours at the start and end of their shift completing field tasks, rather than driving.

    One of my floater employees is concerned about the time he will be "wasting" driving to the remote location. Currently, he clocks in at headquarters if he's assigned there, but if he's not, he clocks in as he "passes" headquarters while driving. I've asked him to start clocking in once he arrives to his assigned field location.

    Is this correct? Am I missing something within labor law that requires me to pay them from headquarters if assigned to another office?

    Thanks! I appreciate any help this team can be on this!
    - Gabe

  • #2
    DAW knows more about this than I do, but for the most part, the law does not require that employees be paid for the time between home and the first stop of the day, or between the last stop of the day and home. If they are required to stop at headquarters first, then they have to be paid from headquarters to the first stop. But if they are told to go directly to the first stop without stopping at headquarters, then they are not due pay until they reach their first stop.

    Some people believe that they cannot be required to drive more than x miles from home without some or all of the time becoming compensable. For the most part, these people are wrong.

    I'm sure that DAW, or perhaps Patty, will chime in if there is an exception that I am missing.
    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.


    • #3
      Here are the regulations regarding travel:

      You should read them all, but the first is the most likely to apply.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


      • #4
        Patti and CBG, many thanks for your quick and thorough answers. Looks like I'm on the right page here.

        I truly appreciate your help! Have an excellent day!


        • #5
          You're welcome. They should all be this easy.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


          • #6
            Both of the cties are federal law, and we are talking California, which does not entirely follow the federal travel rules.

            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


            • #7
              Originally posted by DAW View Post
              Both of the cties are federal law, and we are talking California, which does not entirely follow the federal travel rules.

              Oh, nuts, I completely missed that it was California.
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


              • #8
                Ah, so this complicates things a bit more. Any help you can be is appreciated.

                What I find interesting is that "reasonable travel" distance seems to be left to the employer to decide. I find this a bit concerning as my opinion of reasonable won't necessarily match the DLSE's... In this situation, the EE typically clocks in at headquarters, which is about 15 minutes from his home. We wish to have him clock in @ field offices instead, usually 30-45 minutes away from home; a different office every day, and all about the same commute time.

                One H/R professional I spoke to said that if the EE previously clocked in @ headquarters but no longer has a "firm start location", and it took 15 mins for the EE to get to work; and I am assigning for the day to say, the Los Angeles office, I would need to pay the EE beginning after the 15 minutes it would have taken for him to clock in @ headquarters. So, he would leave home @ say, 6AM, but I would not pay until 6:15am, about the same time as if he would've physically walked into headquarters.

                I think this leaves a lot of gray area...

                Additionally, so be it, if I have to have the EE clock 15 mins after starting to drive... but since he's in a company vehicle, am I responsible for any incidents the EE is involved in prior that the 15 minute start time? If this is the case, I should allow to just clock in from home, right?


                • #9
                  You have several unrelated issues.
                  - Commute time is normally unpaid, regarding the federal Portal-to-Portal Act. CA normally follows this rule (but not always). (In fact, not always for federal for that matter).
                  - However, CA does not entirely follow the federal travel rules (785.33-785.41). CA has some court decisions and administrative decisions basically saying that if the employer controls the employee, the time is paid. This is NOT what federal rules say.
                  - So basically we have two different rules that do not agree with each other. On the one hand, commutes are normally unpaid time, but on the other hand, if the employer "controls" the time, it is paid (in CA anyhow). CA decides this by saying "normal" commutes are unpaid, but abnormal commutes are paid to the extent that the commute is longer then "normal". Obviously this is not exactly a bright line test. And obviously, it means whatever CA-DLSE wants it to mean. If the normal commute is 15 minutes for this employee, then commuting time in excess of 15 minutes would normally be paid.
                  - You mentioned that this is an employer owned car. Not necessarily important. If it is just a normal car (or normal pick up truck), then legally it does not matter who owns it. If instead the vehicle is what the government would consider to be a "work vehicle", the rules change. Again, a "work vehicle" is whatever the government says it is, but generally it is something tricked up, say company logo AND modifications to the vehicle, say like a telephone van with logo and completely filled with company "stuff". Not a normal passenger car. A standard BMW with a company logo is NOT a "work vehicle", because it acts like a normal car. Putting a small amount of "stuff" in the trunk does not change this. Even filling out the trunk with "stuff" would not certainly change this. Is that what you are talking about? If not, then it does not matter (legally) who owns the car for commuting purposes, at least as far as determing hours worked. (IRS rules are a different story, and an issue unrelated to those you raised).
                  "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                  Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


                  The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.