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My (US) company is sending me on a trip (about a 4 hour flight away) spanning Weds to Weds. The organization I'm visiting will be closed over the weekend, so I don't expect to do any work on Sat and Sun. However, I'd still be stuck away from home and would have to cancel my weekend plans.

I'm salaried and my work typically has a flexible schedule, e.g. we can usually get permission to work on weekends and take off a week day as long as we work the full 40 hours.

Would my company be morally or legally obligated to pay me for Sat and Sun (that is, include them towards my 40 hours for the week), even though they are not typically workdays and I wouldn't be able to get any actual work done?

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    Does your company give you any money for you to cover travel expenses? That is, are they giving you a budget of X for you to cover your meals etc. during this trip? – DarkCygnus Mar 10 at 22:54
  • Yes. We get a fixed budget for meals, and the company pays or reimburses airfare/hotel/rental car/parking directly. – Selvek Mar 10 at 22:57
  • So based on that most likely they are already covering all your days, counting those 2 weekend days. Have you checked how much X is? So you can find if they are indeed covering it or not? – DarkCygnus Mar 10 at 23:01
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    I'm pretty confident they'd continue the per diem for meals during those days, but the question is really whether those should count as working days from a salary context (my salary is far more valuable than the per diem) – Selvek Mar 10 at 23:05
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    Think of it as an opportunity to be a tourist for the weekend, with somebody else paying the travel expenses to get there. – Simon B Mar 10 at 23:14
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Electing to stay away from home over the weekend usually disqualifies you from compensation for non-work days. Instead, your company should give you the option to travel home on Friday and back to the meeting on Monday. If you are choosing to stay over the weekend (and you have the option to travel home for the weekend) then you are not entitled to any compensation or expenses.

However, if you are being asked to travel on the weekend with no alternative, you may qualify for compensation:

  • You might be entitled to overtime if you are a non-exempt salaried employee - the extra days over the weekend are work days and should accrue hours for you.
  • You might be entitled to "call pay" for being asked to be away from home and available for work outside of normal work hours. This is usually a small fraction of your equivalent hourly rate.

Most likely though, even if you are being coerced to travel over the weekend, you are not entitled to additional compensation. Salaried employment in the US is pretty "free range." Your employer is allowed to ask a lot of you and your only recourse is to quit (i.e., "at-will" employment).

The best thing to do is discuss the situation with your manager and agree on some sort of arrangement that you both agree adequately compensates you for your time (e.g., two extra paid days off).

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  • Since you're using words like entitled, could you give a source? – Mars Mar 11 at 2:09
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Most people wouldn't count the weekend as anything more than an opportunity to see somewhere new for free.

If it's an issue for you due to weekend plans etc., perhaps turn it down so someone else can get a chance to go.

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Would my company be morally obligated to pay me

No. Paying weekend travel as work time would be highly unusual in the US. Most people do consider this a perk: it's an all expense paid weekend trip.

Would my company be legally obligated to pay me

Check your contract, your employee handbook and your company policies. These determine the rules or your employment and not random strangers in the Internet. This being said, it would be highly unusual for a company to do this.

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  • There are so many boring places where I would consider a day spent flying (instead of looking after children) not as a perk. – guest Mar 11 at 16:12
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Would my company be morally or legally obligated to pay me for Sat and Sun

I think I will have to first ignore the moral obligation question as companies are amoral as they exist to make money for the stakeholders, period.

As for the legal obligation, do you have a contract ? If so the answer is in that contract. It's highly unusual for salaried employees to get paid extra for overtime / weekends. This is the case in most countries. Usually if you look at your contract there will be a clause about working a little extra and on different days (e.g. weekends).

I know this as I once asked if I would be paid extra for the Sunday I travelled to London on a training course. The answer was no and that I should be grateful that I got the time off to go for a training course.

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