By Kathryn Lease Simpson, Esq.
A: Not necessarily. Two provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), that otherwise appear simple, create confusion. The first, employers do not have to pay their hourly employees for an ordinary commute to and from work. This is true even if an employee reports to different locations. However, the travel between work sites, after the first location, is normally compensable. For employees who regularly report to different job sites, at the beginning of the work day, factors such as the company's usual business area and the frequency of changes to reporting locations may impact whether the drive is an ordinary commute.
Second, many employees believe if they are driving company vehicles to and from work, or to the initial job site, they are entitled to compensation. This is not necessarily the case. Courts will look to whether driving the vehicle and carrying tools impose more than a "minimal burden" on the employee.
Each situation is unique and the answer to the question turns on several factors. It is therefore important for companies that are considering entering into these types of commuting agreements to consult with counsel.