Generally, an employee’s commute is not considered hours worked, and therefore the employer does not need to pay an employee for travel time.
However, there are some scenarios where driving time has been found to be compensable:
- The time spent traveling to and from a required offsite meeting or conference in excess of the employee’s normal commute is compensable.
- The time spent traveling to an airport or train station that is over and above the time spent in the employee’s normal commute is compensable.
- The time spent traveling to a remote work site from an employee’s home may be compensable if it goes beyond the employee’s normal commute.
- The time spent, once an employee reports to work, for any work-related travel during the day is compensable.
- The time spent traveling for a special assignment or emergency outside of regular hours is compensable.
Employers may establish a separate rate for travel, so long as it is not lower than the minimum wage and employees know about the travel rate in advance.
Additionally, Labor Code 2802 requires employers to reimburse employees for automobile costs incurred when required to use a car for work.