Fair Labor Standards Act: Travel And Training Time
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. This HR Advisory provides information regarding the payment of travel and training time for City employees.
Note: If the employee's hours exceed 40 in a workweek, compensation will consist of either compensatory time or overtime pay for the non-exempt employee, and in most cases, compensatory time for the exempt employee. It is the department's choice as to whether the non-exempt employee will receive compensatory time or overtime pay. Departments, or divisions within departments should be consistent when determining whether to pay overtime pay or compensatory time.
For the purposes of this Advisory, "Compensable" means regular salary for exempt or non-exempt employees, time and a half overtime for non-exempt employees, time and a half compensatory time for non-exempt employees, straight time compensatory time for exempt employees or straight time overtime for exempt employees.
Travel from home to work and from work to home is not work time and is not compensable, even if the employee is driving a city vehicle. Time spent by an employee in travel as part of his/her normal activities is work time and must be recorded. Examples:
- Time spent driving from one City facility to another to deliver interoffice mail is compensable.
- Time spent driving to a field site is compensable.
Time spent traveling to out of town training or meetings is compensable if it occurs during an employee's regularly scheduled work hours (including time spent traveling on days on which they would not normally work). Examples (Assume for all examples the employees' normal work hours are 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday):
- Two employees drive to Austin for a conference on Tuesday afternoon. This time is compensable because it occurs during their regular work hours.
- Two employees drive to Austin for a conference on Sunday afternoon. This time is compensable because it occurs during their regular work hours even though it occurs on a day on which they do not normally work.
Travel time that occurs outside of an employee's regularly scheduled work hours may or may not be compensable, depending on whether or not the employee is performing "work" while traveling. Examples:
- Shannon drives a car to Austin on Monday evening to attend a conference. Lakeshia is also attending the conference, and she is a passenger in Shannon's car. Shannon's time is compensable because she is performing the work of "driving". Lakeshia's time is not compensable because she is not performing work.
- Shannon is driving the car, Lakeshia has her laptop and is working on the laptop while Shannon is driving. In this case, Lakeshia's time is compensable because she is performing work.
- Shannon and Lakeshia fly to Florida on Sunday afternoon to attend a conference that starts on Monday. Both Shannon's and Lakeshia's time is compensable because it occurs during their regular work hours even though it occurs on a day on which they do not normally work.
- Shannon and Lakeshia fly to Florida on Sunday evening to attend a conference that starts on Monday. Their time is not compensable unless they are flying the plane or unless they are performing "work" while flying.
When an employee has the option of flying or driving and chooses to drive, compensation will only be for the amount of time that would have been spent flying. Example:
- Shannon and Lakeshia drive to Florida instead of fly. It takes 12 hours to drive to Florida and 4 hours to fly. Shannon and Lakeshia will be compensated for 4 hours only.
Training TimeAttendance at training or other meetings outside of an employee's regular work schedule is compensable under the following conditions:
- The employee is led to believe that his/her working conditions or chance of continued employment would be adversely affected by non-attendance. Example:
- The employee is told that failure to attend the class will be reflected on the employee's performance appraisal.
- The employee performs productive work while attending the training. Examples:
- The employee represents the City by presenting a workshop on a topic relevant to the employee's job at an evening conference.
- The employee brings information for a report for work and compiles that information while attending the meeting.
- The program, lecture or meeting is directly related to the employee's job and is undertaken for the primary purpose of increasing the worker's efficiency in the current job. Examples:
- An Administrative Assistant attends meetings of the Toastmaster's Club after hours to improve his speaking skills and increase his chance of getting a promotion. This is not compensable because it is not directly related to the employee's job and is not taken for the primary purpose of increasing the employee's efficiency in his current position.
- A Customer Service Representative is told by his or her supervisor to attend an evening workshop on "Enhancing Customer Service" in order to improve his skills. This is probably compensable. To make sure, the employee should ask how his time should be recorded. If the supervisor does not want to compensate the employee for attending, then the supervisor should not make the training mandatory, and should not penalize the employee during a Performance Appraisal for not attending the training.
- An Engineer attends regular Friday evening meetings of the Professional Engineers of Fort Worth. She is not required to do so by her supervisor and is not required to be a member of this group. Her time is not compensable.
- Voluntary attendance outside of regular working hours at specialized or follow-up training, even if required by law for certification of the employee's professional credentials, does not constitute compensable hours of work even if the training is paid for by the City. Example:
- A Customer Service Representative decides to attend an evening workshop on "Enhancing Customer Service." He is not required to attend the class by his supervisor. He does not have to be compensated for attending the class.
- Harry is a Widget Technician. The job description for Widget Technician says that a Widget Technician License is required for the job. Harry has a license that is about to expire. Harry attends classes in the evening to maintain his license. This time is not compensable. Having a Widget Technician License is a condition of employment. If Harry does not have a current license, he no longer meets the condition of employment and can be terminated. It is to Harry's benefit to have a job, and therefore it is to Harry's benefit to maintain his certification so he can keep his job.
It is important to note that some departments, depending upon their particular circumstances, may choose to compensate employees for travel or training time, even if they are not legally required to do so. Examples:
- The Department of Widgets decides to compensate Harry for attending the certification classes because it is very difficult to find certified Widget Technicians.
- The Gizmo Department decides not to compensate their employees for attending Gizmo certification classes because Certified Gizmo Analysts are a dime a dozen. As long as the Gizmo Department is consistent, this is okay. However, the Gizmo Department should not choose to compensate Lucy for attending Gizmo Certification classes and then not compensate Alberto for attending the same classes.
- The Department of Widgets provides Widget Certification training during the day. Employees who work the day shift are compensated for the time they spend in this class. Employees who work second and third shift are also compensated when they come in during the day to attend the class.
The defining factor as to whether the employee is compensated for Training or Travel time is this: Is the training for the benefit of the employee or is it for the benefit of the employer? Any time a non-exempt employee is performing work on behalf of the City or for the benefit of the City, the employee must be compensated.
For additional information please call Sandra Burks at 817-392-7779, or Richard Hodapp at 817-392-7770.
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