- Q: The time spent in travel is considered comp time and must be paid.
- Q: Employment Laws in Texas by company size.
- Q: Part time and Full Time Status for Benefit Eligibility
Q: We are sending a nonexempt employee to mandatory off-site training and meeting. What travel hours do we pay for? (Time Worked/ Travel).
A: The time spent in travel is considered comp time and must be paid.
The time spent in travel is considered comp time and must be paid. There are special considerations for travel time pay when nonexempt employees travel for training and meetings. Home-to-work and work-to-home is not required to be paid, unless the employee works en-route. . If employees are required to report to a central location before going to work area then travel from central location to work areas has to be paid.
However, if off-site training requires nonexempt employees to travel overnight or away from home community, at least some of the time spent traveling is considered time worked and is therefore paid. When an employee drives, all travel time is considered work time. When an employee is a passenger in a car, plane, bus, boat or train, only the travel time that cuts across his or her regular work schedule must be paid. Keep in mind, this time includes travel hours that correspond to the employee’s normal work hours, even if travels falls on a day an employee doesn’t normally work (e.g., weekend) or a holiday when the company is closed. You must count travel that is a regular part of the worker’s daily duties as hours worked because Federal law considers it “all in a days work”
For example, if the employee regularly works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on a Sunday the employee travels as a passenger on an airplane for a Monday meeting, the employer is required to pay for any travel time that occurs between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. even though the employee is traveling on Sunday. There is no obligation under federal law to pay for travel time before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Therefore, if an employee doesn’t start his or her travel until 6 p.m., there is no compensation required. But if he or she flies from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., all this time is compensable. Some states have travel time laws that may have additional travel time pay requirements.
Workers required to be on duty for less than 24 hrs are considered working even if they’re permitted to sleep. Workers required to be on duty > 24 hrs may agree with their employer to exclude from hours worked any scheduled sleeping periods of 8 hrs or less.
In addition, according to the FLSA, when the employee is performing work while traveling, such as completing pre-work for a training class or preparing for a meeting while a passenger on the plane, this time is considered work time even if it is outside the employee’s normal work schedule.
Human Resources Manager
Q: What are the employment laws I have to follow if I am less than 50 employee group.
A: The TWC put together a nice chart outlining employment laws.
# of EmployeesEmployerStatuteProtection
1 worker (employee or independent contractor)Anyrace/color discrimination
1 employeeemployee benefit rights
1 employeeminimum wage/overtime
1 employeeoccupational safety and health
1 employeeAny employer with any employeenew hire reporting within first 20 days after hire
1 employeeAny private-sector employerminimum wage, overtime, timely wages, illegal deductions
1 employeeFor-profit/governmentunemployment compensation
2 – 50 employeesAnySmall Employer Health Insurance Availability Act
(Texas COBRA)health benefit continuation – state law
4 employeesAnynational origin/U.S. citizenship
4 employeesNon-profitunemployment compensation
15 employeesAnyTitle VII, ADA, GINA, Chapter 21 (Texas Labor Code)race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age (state law), genetic information
20 employeesAnyage discrimination (federal)
20 employeesAny, except for church and governmental** health planshealth benefit continuation – federal law
50 employeesAnyfamily and medical leave
100 employeesAnyadvance notice of plant closings and mass layoffs
100 employeesPrivate sectorstatistical survey of employees
Human Resources Manager
Q: How do I determine how to classify my employees as part time vs full time to determine benefits eligibility?
A: Please review information provided in
Part-Time / Full-Time Status
- Texas and federal laws leave it up to an employer to define what constitutes full-time and part-time status within a company and to determine the specific schedule of hours.
- Most companies define full-time employees as those who are regularly scheduled for a set number of hours each week (40, 37.5, 45, or similar amount), and part-time status is for anyone who is regularly scheduled to work less than that amount of time each week.
- A common reason for differentiating between part-time and full-time employees is to distinguish the set of employees who receive company benefits from those who are not eligible for such benefits, or to supply a way of distinguishing between two sets of benefits for two classes of employees. It is legal to have one set of benefits, or none at all, for part-time employees, and another set of benefits for full-time employees, as long as there is equal employment opportunity within the company.
- Certain benefits have specific rules, however:
- Pension or retirement benefits – if a company offers such benefits, the federal law known as ERISA provides that an employee who works at least 1,000 hours in a twelve-month period must be given the chance to elect participation in the pension or retirement plan (this is known informally as the “thousand-hour rule” – see 29 U.S.C. § 1052)
- Health insurance benefits – if an employer has a health insurance plan, Rule 28 T.A.C. § 26.4(15) provides that an “eligible employee” is anyone who usually works at least 30 hours per week
- Having part-time/full-time definitions that are insufficiently specific can lead to a problem of interpretation, if the workplace gets busy for more than a week or two at a time, and employees who are hired as part-timers have to work 40 or more hours several weeks in a row. Such employees might begin to think of themselves as full-time employees and expect full-time benefits. For that reason, some employers write the definitions in a manner similar to this:
“Full-time employees are those who are regularly assigned to work at least 40 hours each week. Part-time employees are those who are regularly assigned to work less than full-time. While part-time employees may occasionally work 40 or more hours in a particular workweek, or in a series of workweeks, that by itself will not change their regular schedule. However, the company reserves the right to change the regular schedules of employees at any time. In such a case, the company will give affected employees as much advance notice as possible of their new regular schedules and will advise employees of the effect of such changes on their eligibility for company benefits.”
Human Resources Manager