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Grasping the nuances of travel time compensation in California is crucial for employees navigating work-related travel. This type of time is often payable when an employer mandates attendance at a specific location and dictates the mode of transportation.

Here are five essential aspects to understand about travel time compensation. If you require help from an employment law attorney, contact PLBH at (800) 435-7542 for a free legal consultation.

Normal Commute vs. Compensable Travel Time

The standard journey to and from your job site typically doesn’t qualify for travel time compensation under California law. The decisive factor is the degree of employer control—regular commutes offer personal discretion, falling outside employer-paid hours. Yet, if your employer mandates travel through specific transportation means, such as a company shuttle from a common gathering point, that period under the employer’s direction may become compensable.

Minimum Wage Requirements for Travel Time

Travel time pay must align with at least the state’s minimum wage standards. If your work contract remains silent on the matter, this travel time should be remunerated at your regular wage rate. However, employers sometimes designate a lower hourly rate for travel time, which is permissible as long as it meets or surpasses minimum wage benchmarks.

Travel Time Pushing Towards Overtime

For nonexempt employees, accumulative travel hours might tip the scales, necessitating overtime wages. California labor laws stipulate overtime pay at 1.5 times your standard rate after exceeding daily or weekly work hour thresholds. Travel time can significantly contribute to reaching these overtime-eligible hours, a detail often overlooked by workers.

California’s Stance vs. Federal Guidelines

Comparatively, California’s labor laws are more favorable to employees than federal guidelines concerning travel time. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t consider employer control as a factor for compensable work, potentially limiting travel time remuneration under its jurisdiction.

Mileage Reimbursement for Work-Related Travel

If your work-related travel involves your personal vehicle, California law may entitle you to mileage reimbursement. This compensation covers vehicle-related expenses incurred due to employer-required travel. Businesses often resort to the IRS’s standard mileage rates to calculate these reimbursements.

Addressing Unpaid Travel Time

Should you find yourself uncompensated for rightful travel time, California law permits you to lodge a wage and hour claim. This process can help you reclaim unpaid wages, including interest, and possibly cover attorney’s fees and court costs. Claims can be directed through legal action or filed with the Labor Commissioner’s office within the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

If you’re navigating the complexities of travel time compensation and feel you might be owed for your travel, don’t hesitate to reach out to PLBH at (800) 435-7542. Our team is dedicated to ensuring your rights are upheld and that you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.