What is the law regarding travel Time

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the law regarding travel Time

I am a construction worker. My employer has a yard location in Sacramento, CA and a yard/office location in San Jose, CA. I predominantly (about 85% of the time) work in and around San Jose but live in the greater Sacramento area. My employer provides lodging during the week when I am in San Jose and pays for my fuel. I often drive from my home to the employer provided lodging on Sunday because I want to avoid the commute Monday morning. My employer does not tell me when I must come commute, just that I must be there for the beginning of my work day on Monday. Is my employer required to pay me for my drive from home to the employer provided lodging? If I drive down on Monday from my home to the yard/office in San Jose before work instead of Sunday are they required to pay me drive time? What about when I work out of the Sacramento yard, about 15% of the time?

Asked on April 22, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, the employer is not required to pay for your travel time. You choose to have a job in a different city than where you live--that is your choice, and you could clearly seek employment closer to home if you wanted. When people voluntarily leave in a different city from where they do most of their work, the trip to the work city is considered their normal commute and they are not paid for it. (Or not entitled to pay; the company is free to voluntarily pay you.) And when you work in the city where you live, since that trip is so much less than your normal "commute" to San Jose, you are not paid for it, either: when someone's commute on a given day is different than their normal commute, they might only be entitled to travel time compensation if it is longer, not shorter.

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