Travel reimbursement

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must reimburse hourly wage earners for all travel time that's related to their job responsibilities. For example, if employees must travel during normal working hours, then companies are obligated to pay them for their time. Employers generally aren't required to reimburse employees for any expenses accrued during that time, even if it's used for business purposes. An employer, however, must cover expenses if requiring the employee to pay them would have the effect of bringing the employee below the minimum wage for the pay period. Employees earning minimum wage aren't required to pay for travel expenses such as airfare, meals, gas, and hotels. It's usually the responsibility of the employee to document all travel and working hours in a logbook and to keep receipts for verification of expenses. Keep in mind that companies must also pay for an employee's travel time worked even if the travel occurs during normal working hours on a day when employees don't normally work, such as on a Saturday or a holiday. The only instance an employer isn't obligated to pay for travel time is when an employee starts or ends a trip outside of normal working hours. Whether business-related expenses accrued during those hours are reimbursable is left to the discretion of the employer. Employers should note that if the employee's travel time, together with his or her working time, adds up to more than 40 hours during the week, the employee is owed overtime compensation at one-and-one-half times his or her regular rate of pay.

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