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Riding and Driving/Meeting and Training

Driving and Riding Time and Hours Worked

An employer must pay its employees either the minimum wage (currently $7.25 an hour under North Carolina law) or an employee's promised rate of pay (including a salary), whichever is greater, and time and one-half overtime pay based on an employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek unless the employee is exempt for some reason.

The time an employee spends driving or riding as a part of their job may or may not be hours worked based on the circumstances and under certain conditions. Regular home-to-work and work-to-home travel is normally not work-time. Travel from the employer's office to a worksite and travel from the worksite back to the employer's office is work-time for the driver of a company vehicle. Travel from the employer's office to a worksite and travel from the worksite back to the employer's office is not work-time for a rider in a company vehicle as long as the following conditions are met:

  • the riding to and from the worksite and office in the company vehicle is optional and not mandatory,
  • for the trip to the first or only worksite, the rider does not help to load the company vehicle at the office, and
  • for the trip from the last or only worksite back to the office, the rider does not help to unload the company vehicle once back at the office. The travel-time between worksites is work-time for both drivers and riders regardless if using a company vehicle or an employee's personal vehicle.

Furthermore, even if the travel-time is work-time, the employer may elect to pay an employee a lower hourly rate for this work-time, which may be set as low as the minimum wage. For example, if a construction-employee is paid $15.00 an hour for their normal duties, the employer may elect to pay this employee $8.00 an hour (or as low as $7.25 an hour) for the travel-time that is work-time. Please review the federal labor law rules on hours worked in Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 785, which the North Carolina Department of Labor has adopted. The rules on "Travel Time" are found in 785.33 through 785.41. Go directly to CFR 785.

Meeting and Training/Class Time and Hours Worked

An employer must pay its employees at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, and time and one-half overtime pay based on an employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek unless the employee is exempt for some reason. Currently the minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 an hour.

The time an employee spends in meetings, training, attending a class or course, or attending a workshop may or may not be hours worked based on the circumstances and under certain conditions. Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs, and similar activities must be counted as work time unless all four of the following criteria are met:

  • it occurs outside normal scheduled hours of work;
  • it is completely voluntary;
  • it is not job-related (unless the employee attends an independent school or college on his/her own initiative outside work hours); and,
  • no other work is performed during the period.

The time spent attending training that is required by law for employees of a business is work time for which employees must be compensated. For example: The time spent attending training that is required by the state for day care center licensing is work time for which the day care center employees must be compensated.

The time spent attending training that is required by law for an individual employee to retain his/her certification is not work time as long as all four of the above-criteria are met. For example: The time spent attending training that is required by law for a security guard to retain his/her firearms certification is not work time as long as all four of the above-criteria are met.

Furthermore, even if the time spent in the above activities is work time, the employer may elect to pay an employee a lower hourly rate for this work time, which may be set as low as the minimum wage. For example, if an employee taking a work-related class is paid $15.00 an hour for their normal duties, the employer may elect to pay the employee $8.50 an hour (or as low as $7.25 an hour) for the time spent taking the class.

Please review the federal labor law rules on hours worked in Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 785, which the North Carolina Department of Labor has adopted. The rules on "Lectures, Meetings and Training Programs" are found in 785.27 through 785.32. Go directly to CFR 785.

For more information about workplace rights, please contact our toll free number at 1-800-NC-LABOR (800-625-2267).