It is not uncommon for disputes to arise about employees’ eligibility for payment for travel time. Employment law regarding travel time can be complicated. Therefore, British Columbia employers are advised to draft a company policy that includes information about travel time in the employment contracts when new staff members are appointed.
Here is what the BC Employment Standards Act says about paid and unpaid travel time:
The time spent travelling to and from work is not regarded as work time. It is important to note that this applies even if the worker drives a company vehicle or if another employee or the employer picks up the worker.
However, if an employee hauls work-related materials, supplies, equipment or tools to the work site, the travel time should be paid. Similarly, if the employer asks an employee to pick up co-workers, travel time is payable – not necessarily at the usual rate, but not less than the minimum hourly rate.
When employees have to travel between different work sites during a workday, the travel time should be regarded as a part of the paid workday.
When it comes to employees travelling to a remote job site, travel would only be payable if workers are ordered to gather at a specific location to be collected and transported to another location. The time from the collection point to the work site would be payable. This would also apply for farm workers who are picked up at a specific place to be transported to the workplace.
Similarly, for an employee who must travel out of town for a meeting, conference or another work-related task, the travel time would have to be paid. This would apply regardless of whether travelling occurs by road or by air.
When disputes arise between workers and employers in British Columbia about payment for travel time, it can be wise to seek legal counsel to learn about the legal options for resolving the matter. As a proactive measure, employers who anticipate that employees will be required to travel in the course of their duties should consider seeking legal counsel to assist in formulating an appropriate travel policy.