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Can employees in California be compensated for an extra-long commute?

On Behalf of | May 25, 2021 | Wage & Hour Law

In general, an employer is not required to compensate you for your usual daily commute to work. However, California law does require employers to provide compensation for extraordinarily long commutes due to temporary job assignments.

What’s the difference between a regular commute and a substantially longer commute?

California employment law does not say specifically what differentiates an ordinary commute from a substantially longer commute. However, in California, if you are required to travel to an alternate job site for less than a month, and if the commute is substantially longer than your usual commute, the law says that you should be paid for the extra travel time.

That means the facts of the specific case must be considered when determining whether you are entitled to extra compensation for time spent traveling to a job site. Factors to consider may include your employer’s service area and the frequency with which your assignments change.

The duration of the commute is relevant

If you’re only required to drive a few extra minutes to get to your temporary assignment, it’s unlikely that you’ll be entitled to extra compensation. However, if you’re required to drive an extra hour a day to get to a temporary place of employment, that extra time might be counted as time spent at work. A wage and hour law attorney who is familiar with California law can help determine what your rights are in your case.

An attorney may also be able to assist you in obtaining the compensation that you are entitled to under state law. Your attorney might use payroll records, manager statements or other documents to show that you are owed back pay for the extraordinary time you spent commuting to a temporary job site.