A large number of companies today have a considerable portion of their employees out on the road, yet employers sometimes aren't exactly certain which traveler policies they ought to have in place.
For starters, employers should establish and distribute to employees a written expense-reimbursement policy. A well-drafted policy should, at a minimum, explain which expenses are eligible for reimbursement and which are not. Another important matter for employers to consider is their company's cell phone use policy, since the use of a cell phone while driving may present a hazard to the driver, other employees and the general public. Finally, the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage laws need to be considered. Generally, travel time to and from work is not time "on the clock." However, time spent traveling as part of the employee's principal activity during the work day must be counted as hours worked.
Traveling employees will likely always be part of the workplace landscape. Taking a good look at the issues related to work time spent on the road before problems arise is the best way for employers to stay on the correct path.
This article appeared in the February 2, 2010 edition of the Portland Press Herald and on MaineBusiness.com. A version of this article also appeared in the February 10, 2010 issue of BusinessNH Magazine.