Travel Time Compensation (Non-Exempt Employees and Exempt Classified Employees)

Compensation for employees who travel on UO business follows state law and for classified employees, the requirements of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).  Whether time spent traveling by an employee is compensable work time depends on the type of travel and its purpose.  Applying the laws in a more generous manner is inappropriate as the UO is a public institution and this causes inequity among employees on campus.

Prior to the business travel, the manager should meet with the employee to discuss how his or her hours should be recorded, what hours are compensable, and what records should be kept. 


Department of Labor, Fact Sheet #22 Hours Worked Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries FAQ’s Travel Time Compensation: Questions & Answers

For business purpose policy, guidelines, and how to process reimbursements see Travel on the Business Affairs website.


An Overview: When Employers Must Pay Travel Time (from BOLI website) 



Compensable travel time?

Portal-to-portal travel

Normal home-to-work / work-to-home travel at the beginning and end of one work day. 


Travel between worksites

Travel in the course of a day’s work from one job site to another.


Special one-day assignment

Employee is sent on a one-day assignment to a city more than 30 miles from the employee’s fixed official work station.



Overnight travel

Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight.

Yes, whenever travel cuts across an employee’s regular work hours (applies seven days per week). No, if the employee is a passenger and travel falls outside of regular work hours. (Travel time must be paid whenever driving is required.)


FAQ’s: (Non-Exempt Employees and Exempt Classified Employees)

Special one-day assignments

Q. We had two of our staff members drive up to Portland for a one-day seminar.  How much of the travel time is compensable? 

A.  As long as the seminar is in a city beyond a 30-mile radius of the employee’s official workstation, all travel time is compensable.  This applies to both the driver and the passenger.

Overnight Travel

Q.  When is travel time on an overnight trip considered work time that must be compensated?

A.  (From BOLI Website) On overnight trips, all the time an employee spends traveling during normal work hours must be compensated – even on weekends. An employer is not legally obligated to compensate for travel time that falls outside of the employee’s regular work hours, except when the employee is required to drive.

Example:  Chet’s regular work schedule is 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.  His employer requires him to attend a two-day business conference in Idaho. Chet travels by bus on Wednesday, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  The employer must pay for these six hours of travel time, since they cut across Chet’s normal work hours.  Chet returns home by bus on Saturday, traveling from 2:00pm to 8:00pm.  The employer must pay for the three hours between 2:00pm and 5:00pm, the travel time, which cuts across Chet’s normal work hours.  This is required even though Chet does not normally work on Saturday.

Example:  Jane’s regular work schedule is 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.  Her employer sends her from Portland to a work-related weekend convention in Chicago on a Friday night “red-eye” flight from midnight to 5:00am.  Since Jane is traveling as a passenger outside of her normal work hours, the employer does not need to pay for any of the travel time.

Example:  Peter, whose regular work schedule is 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, travels by plane to an out-of-state business meeting.  The air travel takes place from noon to 5:00pm.  At the airport, Peter is required to pick up a rental car and drive an additional five hours to reach the remote city where the meeting will take place.  In this case, the employer must pay for 10 hours of travel time, the five hours of air travel, which cut across Peter’s normal work hours, plus the five hours of car travel, which fall outside of Peter’s normal work hours, since he is required to drive during that time.

Example:  Donna normally works the graveyard shift, from midnight to 8:00am.  Donna’s supervisor assigns her to travel to California for a week-long business trip.  The supervisor offers Donna a bus ticket for travel from 6:00am to 2:00pm, but Donna chooses to drive her private vehicle instead.  In this case, since Donna was offered transportation as a passenger and was not required to drive, the employer may choose to pay Donna for all of the hours she spends driving her car, but is only legally obligated to pay for the two hours of travel from 6:00am to 8:00am, the time that would have been compensable had Donna accepted the bus ticket.

Q.  I have two classified employees who attended a three-day conference.  On the first day, there was an evening social from 7:00-9:00pm.  Do I need to compensate them for the two hours they spent at this event?
A.  If they were expected to attend the evening social as part of the conference, then yes.  If the event was optional and they did not have to attend, then no.

Q.  A non-exempt employees’ return flight home was delayed for 2 ½ hours.  Does the wait time at the airport count as compensable time?

A.  If it crosses normal work hours (including weekends) then it is compensable time.

Q.  Do I have to compensate my non-exempt employees for the time they are at the airport waiting for their flight?

A.  The time an employee spends at an airport before their flight leaves (2 hours is a reasonable amount of time) is compensable if it crosses their normal work hours, including weekends and other days off.

Q.  My employee worked 40 hours during the week (8:00am-5:00pm, M-F), including time spent at a conference.  She travelled home on the following Saturday.  She arrived at the airport at 10am.  Her flight left at noon and landed at 5pm.  Should all those hours be paid as overtime?

A.  10am to 5pm are within her normal work hours so if she is non-exempt then those travel hours are compensable time.  The employee can choose to have those overtime hours paid out or accrued as comp time.  If she is an exempt classified employee then any hours worked over 40 in a week need to be accrued as exchange time (1:1).

Q.  Two employees returned home from a conference in Idaho.  Their plane landed in Portland at 6:00pm.  Since they had to drive back to Eugene after their flight landed, do I have to pay both of them for the driving time?

A.  On overnight travel, you would only compensate the driver and not the passenger for the driving time.

Q.  Do the rules around shift differential in the SEIU CBA still apply when a classified employee is traveling?

A.  Yes.  You need to pay out shift differential to those who are eligible regardless of where the hours were worked.


If you have any additional questions, please contact Mindy Schmidling at 6-2960 or