If you must work in different locations without being able to go home, does the employer have to pay you for your travel time?

I’m a paramedic and my company has decided that when we are forced to work on our day off, that whenever there is a hole in the schedule we must clock out, drive to our new work location unpaid and not get the mileage we put on our personal vehicles. I believe this is illegal. It was also brought to my attention that other similar companies were told not only must they pay if they get mandatory but even if a worker voluntarily picks up a shift so long as they do not go home between shifts.

Asked on November 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Hourly employees must be paid for all time worked and this includes drive time, if the driving is from the office to a work/job site or from one work/job site to another. As a general rule, however, your employer does not need to pay you for your commuting time (morning or evening), whether you go to the office or directly to your first work/job site or home at the end of the day from either the office or the last work/job site. Bottom line, all work-required travel during the day should be paid. If your employer is not paying you for appropriate travel time, you can file a wage claim with your state's state department of labor or you can consult with a an employment law attorney who can best advise you further.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Travel time for work is work time and you must be paid (and paid overtime, as applicable) except for your morning commute to your first work location and evening commute back home. Any travel required by your employer in between the morning and evening commutes is work time and you should be paid at your standard hourly rate. So if your employer tells you leave location A and go to B, your travel time to B is payable work time. (They don't have to pay you mileage, by the way--only for your time.) If the employer refuses to pay you for this mid-day work-related travel time, contact the department of labor about filing a wage-and-hour complaint.

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