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Employment Law/Travel To and from work

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Question
I have been at a job site for about a month now that is about 117 miles a day. The travel hurt my wallet a bit but I did it. Now I have been switched to a job site that is 155 a day and I just can't afford to drive that. I wanted to know if there are any laws or regulations that require a company to compensate or put the employee in a hotel if travel is more then a certain distance. I live and work in North Carolina and my company policy is they will put you in a hotel and give you 19 a day when the job site is 62 miles from your home and 62 miles from the companies main office. I don't live near our main office nor will they let me stay there, so I don't understand the policy completely. If you could help me to understand any laws or regulations on this it would help me make a decision as to what I need to do next. Thank you

Answer
Lawrence - North Carolina does not have regulations about distance to work sites or reimbursement of travel costs.  The federal Department of Labor does not, either, although it does have rules about commuting and paid time.  

Employees who have commuting costs such as you have can claim a tax deduction in their federal tax return, so keep track of your expenses.  Find out what the current IRS mileage rate is to calculate how much you can claim, or ask a tax preparer for the figure.  

A trip of 155 miles altogether does seem to fall into the 62 mile rule, so apparently you can be put up at a hotel and given a small per diem.  Unless you have family at home, this would appear to be an improvement in your situation.  If they are not allowing you to claim the hotel and per diem, there is, unfortunately, little you can do in the absence of laws covering this subject.  The general rule at the federal level is that time spent going to and from the work site, if it is the regular work site, is not work time for which you must be paid.  If you had to travel to a different site on occasion, any increase in travel time from your regular commute would be compensable.  As I understand your situation, though, both sites would qualify as your regular work site, the shorter one qualifying as your previous regular work site and the longer one as your current work site.  

You may want to start looking for a better position with less travel.  

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Margaret M. deMarteleire

Expertise

I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.

Experience

Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Education/Credentials
Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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