Employers and employees in Pennsylvania may be unclear as to compensatory time and how it should be documented in order to be in compliance with labor laws. The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division, has issued opinion letters that may help to resolve these questions.
Two specific areas addressed in these opinion letters are when travel time is eligible for compensation and the proper compensation for rest breaks under FMLA. As a general rule, the time that it takes to commute to and from work is not considered to be compensable. This applies regardless of whether the employee commutes to the same location every day or to varying locations each day. However, traveling to various job sites or locations within the workday is considered compensable and should be included as time worked during the day.
In the matter of breaks for employees working under the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act, the defining factor in compensability lies within who will benefit from the break. Regularly scheduled breaks to refresh the employees and maximize their job performance are clearly beneficial to the employer and are compensable.
On the other hand, extra breaks for employees working under FMLA due to health conditions would be classified as beneficial to the employee and do not require compensation. However, FMLA-covered employees are to be allowed the same compensated breaks as non-FMLA employees.
Many employment-related issues are complicated regardless of whether one's stance is as an employer or employee. When matters of employment law or other labor-related legal issues arise, it is a good idea to not tackle the situation alone. Seeking the advice and counsel of an attorney who is experienced in labor laws, including the FMLA, may be a wise move.