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Can an employer deny overtime if its stated in the employee handbook?

Rodeo, CA |

My employer is denying my overtime pay for the time traveled to and from a job site. He says that it states in the employee handbook that it will be paid regular time. I drove an hour from the office to a job, worked for 8 hours, and drove another hour back to the office. I charged 8 hours of regular time and 2 hours of overtime. It was denied and I was paid 10 hours of regular time. Can this be legal if it was put in the employee handbook?

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Attorney answers 5


No, this is not legal. It does not matter what the handbook says, it only matters what the law says. And the law says that the drive time to and from a job to the office is compensable. And if those extra hours put you over 8 hours in a workday, they are to paid be at time and a half. Based on your facts, those extra two hours must be paid at time and a half.

They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.


no not if you qualify for overtime.


Your travel time to your regular work site (office) is not "on the clock" however, travel from your regular work site to another location, and back, is time for which you must be paid. If you are an hourly employee and you work more than 8 hours per day or more than 40 hours per week, you must be paid at the overtime premium rate. If your first work site of the day takes you 30 minutes longer than the trip to your usual work site (home office) then only those extra 30 minutes (30 mins there and 30 mins back) are "on the clock". Hopefully this made sense. Please contact an employee side employment lawyer if you have additional questions. Best of luck to you!


I agree with my colleagues about the compensability of travel time to/from your office to a job site, and that your employer cannot change the law regarding payment of overtime for non-exempt employees through its employee handbook. This is only true of course if you are a non-exempt employee. If you are an exempt employee, then your employer is not required to pay for overtime at all. Some employers do voluntarily provide additional compensation to exempt employees for travel time. It sounds like you are a non-exempt employee, and my colleagues have made that reasonable assumption, but it may be that your employer has classified you as exempt. There is not enough information in your posting to determine whether your employer has done that, or whether that classification would be improper.


Unless you are an "exempt" employee, you are entitled to overtime pay at the rate of time and a half, if you work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours per week. (To be considered "exempt" you must meet various criteria which is not apparent from your facts and which you have not discussed) As a "non-exempt", employee, however, you are also due a lunch break, off the clock, mid way through your work day, (minimum half hour, upon completion of no more than 5 hours), unpaid, and breaks (10-15 min) approximately midway through the early part of your work day and approximately mid way through the latter portion of your work day. If you are not allotted a lunch break "immediately following five hours of work", your employer may also be forced to pay you an additional hour pay at your "regular" hourly rate, for not allowing you to take that lunch break. Penalties may also be awarded if you are not "allotted" the early and later breaks. Interest can be added to time, unpaid, and penalties may be awarded. You should keep your own time records to provide an accounting to support your claim. The more complex the issues the more likely an attorney may be helpful to you.

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