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Assume a consulting firm (employer) has salaried, exempt consultants (employees), and has a policy that clients are not billed for travel time if they are within a 50 mile radius of the home office. Assume all work is performed in the USA. Assume employer has a policy stating all salaried, full time employees must log at least 40 hours per week in their timekeeping system.

If the employer asks an employee to travel to 5 client sites all 49 miles from the home office, on non-billable activities, and also states that the time spent traveling from client to client should not be entered nor counted towards the minimum 40 hour week, is this legal? None of this travel involves commuting to or from the home.

It seems to be as this is an indirect way of forcing untracked labor. Is this legal?

  • Is the employer treating the consultants as exempt or non-exempt? – Patricia Shanahan Oct 1 at 17:45
  • Assume they are considered exempt. – Robert Overmyer Oct 1 at 17:46
  • Tangential to the question, probably, but is the company providing a company car or compensating for mileage for this travel? – GreenMatt Oct 1 at 20:18
  • just because the employer doesn't charge the client for travel costs, it doesn't mean the employer shouln't pay their employees for their time. – Kaspar Scherrer Oct 2 at 8:51
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It seems to be as this is an indirect way of forcing untracked labor. Is this legal?

Untracked labor? Yes.

With very few exceptions, there are no laws requiring that a company track labor at all, other than for payroll purposes. Ask your employer what they would like you to enter for the travel time, if anything.

If instead, you are trying to say that they end up requiring that you work more than 40 hours per week, that might be different. Check your local labor laws.

I'm guessing that you aren't actually being required to travel weekly to 5 client sites all 49 miles from the home office. Having 5 at 49 miles away apiece would be a heck of a coincidence.

  • Yes it's an extreme example for illustration, but similar, less extreme scenarios have been known to occur. – Robert Overmyer Oct 1 at 17:57
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I've seen situations like this before.

What you can do is a little bit of malicious compliance. If they want to make you travel, they can, but you can also refuse to work over 40 hours. If it takes you an hour out of your way each way, then 8-2 = six hours at the client site. If they want you to spend more time, then they can work out arrangements with you for pay, or for comp time for the travel time.

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