Travel Time Pay for Construction Workers: A Quick Guide

In this quick guide, we're going to take a deeper look at how travel time pay for construction workers works, the federal and state regulations, and how to best manage (and optimize) travel time pay for your hourly employees.
Construction worker gets tools from the bed of his truck
Time Tracking Fundamentals
Understanding Labor Laws
GPS Tracking
Tracking More Than Time
Time Tracking Benefits
Choosing A System
Implementing A System
Time Tracking Fundamentals
Understanding Labor Laws
GPS Tracking
Tracking More Than Time
Time Tracking Benefits
Choosing A System
Implementing A System

Accurate Time Tracking Is So Much Easier With Workyard

Most construction workers are paid by the hour, but what are the rules for travel time pay for construction workers? Once construction workers clock in at the beginning of the day, they need to be compensated for their time.

Does The Fair Labor Standards Act Address Travel Time Pay for Construction Workers?

In the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Department Of Labor explicitly states that time spent by an employee in travel as part of their principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and must be counted as hours worked.

In simple terms, the FLSA requires that employees be paid for all hours worked. This includes any time spent working at the job site as well as any time spent traveling to and from the job site if the travel is considered part of the job. 

Time spent traveling will further be included in work time when it comes to required breaks. If an employee is entitled to a break after four hours of working and travel four hours to a work site, they would immediately need to have a break upon arrival.

Note that no law set by the Department Of Labor requires employers to pay employees for their home-to-work travel (normal commuting). So, an employee’s commute from their home to their regular job location would not be factored in. However, if the employee is sent to a new remote job site further away on a temporary basis, the employee will need to be compensated.

Is Travel Time Pay For Hourly Employees Subject To Standard Wage And Hour Laws?

In most states, employers have the flexibility to determine how much they pay for travel time. In other words, an employer can pay a different hourly rate for travel time as it pays for all other working hours. If you decide to pay a different rate:

  1. Make sure that you notify the employee of the separate rate in advance of the travel.
  2. Make sure the rate is sufficient to cover the minimum wage for all compensable hours.
  3. Make sure you check your local state regulations to double check your state doesn’t require the same rate to be paid (see next section).

Paying a different rate for travel time impacts the regular rate of pay for overtime purposes making it much more complicated to calculate weekly overtime pay. Employers that decide to use a different hourly rate over travel time should consult their accountant/hr advisor on how to calculate overtime pay for employees working at two or more rates.

What Are the State Regulations for Travel Time Pay for Construction Workers?

State laws and regulations related to travel time pay can vary widely. Some states have specific laws that address the issue of travel time pay for construction workers, while other states have no such laws.

Travel time is considered to be any travel time over the regular commute. Travel time must be paid at regular rates or overtime rates, but employers can set different rates for travel prior to the start of a job. It cannot be lower than the minimum wage.

Regular work hour trips, site-to-site trips, and emergency home-to-work and work-to-home travel are all included in paid time.

An employee must be compensated for their travel time at the same rate as their regular wages.

A minimum wage must be paid for travel time.

Work travel time can be paid at minimum wage rates.

There are four types of travel: between worksites, portal-to-portal, one-day, and overnight. Travel pay is not due for portal-to-portal travel (regular commutes).

It’s important to know the compliance laws in your state—and it’s worth it to check with your board of labor in advance if you have questions about these regulations. In general, most employers will need to pay out employees at their regular rate for any business travel that is done during their work hours.

Do I Need Reimburse Employees For Mileage?

If your employees are using their own vehicles for driving between job sites, it’s typically expected that an employee is reimbursed for the miles driven. According to the IRS, the standard mileage reimbursement rate is 62.5 cents per mile driven for business in 2022.

There’s actually no federal requirement for mileage reimbursement,  but there are different requirements for travel time based on state. The exception is if the costs of mileage would bring the employee under minimum wage—then the employee needs to be brought up to minimum wage. 

There are only three states that require that companies reimburse their employees for mileage: California, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Still, because it’s standard for the industry, it’s often necessary to remain competitive.

Check out this guide on employee mileage reimbursement for more information.

How To Accurately Track Travel Time Pay

Tracking travel time between each job site is really difficult. If you’re relying on an honor system you’re probably overpaying and could be saving thousands of dollars.

The good news is that there is a better way. Construction companies are increasingly rolling out GPS time clock apps across their team of construction workers to accurately track driving routes, travel time, and mileage. These apps are easy to adopt for construction workers, they simply need to tap to clock in and tap to clock out.

There are many benefits to using a GPS time clock app:

  • Travel routes, time, and mileage is automatically captured, always accurate and transparent. No more guessing or wondering if employees are inflating the numbers.
  • See where your employees are in real-time. Dispatch the employees who are closest to a site and save on travel and mileage. Not only do you save money, but you increase your response time and client satisfaction.
  • Easily produce reports for client reimbursements. If clients are paying for travel time, you have a complete paper trail.
  • Identify inefficient uses of time. You can see where your employees go and what routes they take. Review your employee travel to identify areas of potential improvement.
  • Review your reports when making new bids. Know exactly how much you usually spend on travel, so you can factor it into your costs. Avoid underbidding on a project by underestimating your travel and labor costs.
  • Built-in overtime and break compliance. Overtime pay such as time and a half is automatically calculated based on your state’s rules ensuring compliance.

Improving your revenue is about having the right data. With Workyard, you’ll be able to track travel time for your workers with ease—and make sure that your payroll is accurate.

Track Travel Time Pay for Construction Workers With Workyard

Workyard has been built specifically for tracking travel time, mileage, and routes for construction workers. With Workyard everything is automated, employees simply have to clock in and it will take care of the rest.

Start a free trial and discover why Workyard is the leading construction time tracking software trusted by thousands of construction and field services companies.

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