I have a question regarding my software developer job in California. We have a big campus and I frequently have to walk between office buildings during my day. An di am an hourly contractor. I'd like to know from legal perspective if the time I spend walking should be counted towards the time I clock into my timesheet?

My employer is not very strict on keeping time, and it only takes me 5 minutes to do the walk. But I'm just wondering what the laws are on this

Also, I have to walk, not drive, but if I were to drive, would I be keeping time as well in addition to recording the mileage for tax return? Thank you!

  • WorkPlace isn't for legal advice, you should consult a lawyer however it seems as if the walking between offices is not legally required to be paid for. See this for guidance only. – user66194 Apr 21 '17 at 20:38
  • Talk to an attorney but my understanding is your work day begins only you check in at the first location. – paparazzo Apr 21 '17 at 20:43
  • @DanielJames That article says the opposite. "Companies do, however, have to pay such employees for travel that they require as part of the job." Once you check in to the first location your commute is over. Travel from building to building is part of the job. Just like travel the elevator. – paparazzo Apr 21 '17 at 21:07
  • @Paparazzi exactly, travelling as part of the job is not walking five minutes to another office on the same campus. – user66194 Apr 21 '17 at 21:09
  • @DanielJames So then is time on the elevator also not part of the job? – paparazzo Apr 21 '17 at 21:12

Generally, this is how it works:

Time from your residence, to the FIRST work location of your day, is unpaid. Travel time to any subsequent locations, after the first location, is paid time. Travel time back to the first location is paid time. Going home from there is unpaid time.

  • 2
    Yup, that's my experience as a contractor as well. – sleddog Apr 21 '17 at 20:45
  • 2
    To add/clarify, going directly home from the second location would also be unpaid, assuming it's a reasonable distance from your primary location and not considered as part of some sort of trip, which would be more of a gray area. – Bryan Krause Apr 21 '17 at 20:51
  • Let me clarify this one step further. If you choose to walk to a restaurant for lunch, that time is not paid. If you choose to attend a work related function after normal work hours you typically will not be paid for that time either, unless the company specifically states they will pay for that time. Basically, once you arrive at work you are paid for all time except lunches. Even if you have to drive to a building across town, that time is paid. – Andieisme Apr 22 '17 at 6:54

Codenoir outlines one common method of time tracking in his answer.

My addition is that many contractors (myself included) will also charge the transport time to the first place of work although perhaps at a different rate. Sometimes this is covered by an initial charge. So for instance some will charge a minimum 1 hour whether they work 5 minutes or a whole hour. And then write off the travel expense if a job takes a decent amount of time.

Logically if you travelling to a job, that is time you could have been spent making money working for another client. But you should let the client be fully aware of your charges.

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