Frequently, clients will ask us if traveling from one’s area of work to and from one’s home is compensable. The answer, as it is so frequently in labor law is: maybe.
There are certain instances where drive is considered compensable hours for the employees. For example, if the employer mandatorily requires an employee or employees to meet at a specific place and use transportation provided by the employer to and from the designated location, then it passes the “control” test. The employee is within reasonable control of the employer and thus, is owed payment for that travel time.
Another instance where travel time is eligible to be paid is if the employer requires its worker to travel beyond the employee’s normal commute. If the job site is “within reasonable proximity” to the employee’s regular work site, then it is not eligible to be compensated. Additionally, if the employee does not have a regular work site, travel time may not be compensable.
If the travel time is indeed compensable, and the employee is subject to a fixed hourly pay rate, then applicable overtime is required as well. There may, however, be a pay differential between travel time and traditional work hours, but both must comply with current minimum wage laws.
Source: The Industrial Welfare Commission