If I have 2 dental offices, do I have to pay my employees travel cost when they travel between each office?

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If I have 2 dental offices, do I have to pay my employees travel cost when they travel between each office?

I just opened a second dental office 15 miles away from my original office. On Mondays we do a split day. We start at the original office and work from 8-12 pm, then we then close down the office and travel to the new office to start work there from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Do I have to reimburse my staff for mileage/travel cost to get to the other office? I give my staff a lunch break from 12:00-1:30pm and expect them to have lunch and then drive to the other office to start work at 1:30 pm.

Asked on May 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you do have to pay for this travel time. Under the law, when an employer requires its workers to travel during the work day from one work site to another, that travel is considered compensable work time as it is directed by the employer and not part of their employees' daily commute (which need not be paid). In other words, while you don't have to pay for the start/end of the day commutes, you must do so for any required travel during the course of the work day.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you do have to pay their travel time from office 1 to office 2. When an employer directs or requires an employee to travel during the work day from one work location or site to another, that mid-day travel is considered worktime, because it is something required by the employer. You don't need to pay for the start or end day commutes, but you do for mid-day travel related to work.
Note that as long as it is at least minimum wage, you *could* pay a lower rate for the travel--nothing in the law says you can't have different rates for different aspects of a job, again, so long as it is at least minimum.


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