Hernandez v Pacific Bell (California Appellate Court) provides guidance on employee travel time to job sites. A number of years ago the California Labor Commissioner provided that travel to work outside of a worker's normal commute must be paid. That can be easily defined if one works at a single location or office, but this has caused a lot of speculation and various schemes to pay or avoid paying commute time to a jobsite. The Labor Commissioner
's office provided some verbal direction to the public, but has stated that their comments were advisory only and not definitive. The Labor Commissioner said a two hour commute each way could be established as a normal commute for construction projects. CCMI's rule of thumb of 50 miles or 1 hour appears to be a safe commute distance that does not require pay.
Hernandez v Pacific Bell ruled that if an employee voluntarily took a company truck home that the employee's commute to a jobsite is not compensable. The Court also confirmed that if an employee is bringing small or personal tools and supplies that no travel time is required. However, driving equipment or substantial materials to the project still needs to be compensated.
Please note that on a prevailing wage project, many trades define travel and subsistence compensation based on the jobsite location, number of miles traveled and/or time driving to a jobsite. So, on a public works projects, employers need to check travel and subsistence policies as well as the general rule for commuting to work over long distances.
The DIR has published proposed regulations for the operation and enforcement of the
requirement that individuals and/or companies must register as a public contractor before bidding prevailing wage work and is accepting comments through April 2, 2019. Go to the DIR's main page and click on the icon relating to Laws and Regulations for more information. www.dir.ca.gov
DIR is promulgating regulations on public contractor regulations