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Opinion letters issued in FLSA and FMLA matters

New York employers and others throughout the country are generally not responsible for paying workers for time commuting to and from work. This is generally true even if they are commuting between job sites or doing so using a company car. According to an opinion letter from the Department of Labor Wage Hour Division, employees can be entitled to pay for extended periods of travel away from home.

Employers could be liable for paying workers if travel time occurs during the workday. If an employee doesn't work normal hours, a company can create an average start and end time to a worker's day. It is also possible for employers and workers to determine ahead of time how much a worker gets paid for travel.

In another letter, the DOL found that non-exempt workers who are given 15-minute rest breaks each hour for health reasons are not entitled to pay during those breaks. The only exception is when a rest break is offered to all non-exempt workers. Extra breaks taken for FMLA purposes are considered to be for the benefit of the employee and not the employer. Furthermore, workers are generally not paid for any FMLA leave taken. This is why workers would not be able to get paid for these rest periods.

If an employer does not pay wages in accordance with federal law, an employee may be entitled to damages. This might include back pay plus interest to make up for not receiving a minimum wage or overtime as required. In some cases, working with the employer in an informal setting may result in a favorable outcome for an employee. If necessary, a worker may wish to hire an attorney and resolve a wage or overtime case in court.

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