Exempt under FLSA guidelines, but due overtime pay for travel

by on March 31, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Engineer filed claim and won FLSA overtime pay

In a recent case, an electronics engineer – an exempt Federal employee – traveled out of town for training and overseas for meetings. He believed his employer owed him compensation for travel-related overtime. His manager disagreed.

Understanding travel in FLSA overtime rules

The engineer filed a claim with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. After reviewing the facts of the case, the agency determined that the claimant was due overtime pay, under FLSA guidelines, for about a half a dozen business trips taken over a two-year period.

Surprised? Here’s why the employer lost the decision:

FLSA guidelines say that exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay in connection with travel when:

  • the overtime isn’t within the regularly scheduled workweek (e.g., Saturday travel)
  • the employee performs actual work while traveling beyond regular work hours (a late-night meeting after attending a trade show all day)
  • the scheduling of the overtime hours is beyond the control of the employer.

In this case, a contractor’s schedule – which was beyond the employer’s control – caused the engineer to work in excess of his regular workweek while traveling. That’s why the agency determined that he was entitled to overtime according FMLA guidelines.

Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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