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Compensable Overtime Travel

Travel performed during overtime is compensable if it meets the definition of one of the below categories.  Senior Executive Service and Senior Foreign Service employees are not eligible for compensable overtime travel.

Category Of Travel Eligibility – FLSA Exempt Eligibility - FLSA Non-exempt

1.  Travel that involves the performance of actual work while traveling 

(Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 550.112(g), 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2))

GS/FWS* GS/FWS
2.  Travel which is incident to travel that involves the performance of work while traveling GS/FWS GS/FWS
3.  Travel that is carried out under arduous and unusual conditions that the travel is inseparable from work GS/FWS GS/FWS
4.  Travel that results from an event which could not be scheduled or controlled administratively, including travel by an employee to such an event and the return of the employee to his or her official duty station GS/FWS GS/FWS
5.  Travel as a passenger on an overnight assignment away from the official duty station during hours on non-workdays that correspond to the employee’s regular working hours (5 CFR 551.422(a)) - GS/FWS
6.  Travel as a passenger on a one-day assignment away from the official duty station - GS/FWS
7.  Suffered or permitted travel - GS/FWS

*GS = General Schedule or equivalent / FWS = Federal Wage System

With the exception of category 7, all travel must be authorized or approved.

Interpretation of Criteria and Definitions:

To qualify as compensable, "performance of actual work while traveling," must be inseparable from travel, e.g., as driving is for a driver, or travel is for a courier.  If the work performed while traveling could as easily be performed in an office, the travel is not compensable.


Travel which is "incident to travel" means deadhead travel.  A courier who travels to make a connection at which he or she is to pick up and transport a package performs deadhead travel.  Another example is driving an empty truck back to the point of origin.  The work performed under this heading must meet the test in the paragraph above.


"Arduous and unusual conditions" during travel means more than long waits at airports, travel on rural or slippery roads, or travel during snowy conditions, and something less than conditions that qualify for hazard pay.  


Travel resulting from an international or non-government meeting is administratively controllable (and the overtime is not compensable) if the agency had the opportunity as a participant to address the schedule, but accommodated the schedule proposed by other participants. 


Travel connected with training is administratively controllable (and the overtime is not compensable) if the training is given or sponsored by a government agency, training is given by a non-federal agency but aimed at government interests, or the majority of attendees at such training are government employees. 


If planning, e.g. a properly implemented preventive maintenance plan, could have avoided emergency travel on overtime to perform repairs, the event that causes the travel is administratively controllable, and the overtime is not compensable.


Travel in categories 5, 6, and 7 is compensable for hours in excess of 40 hours a week only, and for non-exempt employees only. This may result in a non-exempt employee's having an entitlement to overtime when an exempt fellow-traveler has none.  All other conditions constitute overtime for purposes of meeting the daily or weekly overtime standards for exempt or non-exempt employees. 


“Suffered or permitted travel” is compensable only if the supervisor knows it was being performed or had reason to think it was being performed, had an opportunity to prevent it, and failed to act (5 CFR 551.104).  Travel under this heading is compensable work for non-exempt employees only, and only for time over 40 hours a week.

 

Reviewed by OHRM, March 2020


References: OPM Fact Sheet, “Hours of Work for Travel;” 5 CFR 551.104, 550.112(g), 551.422(a); 5 United States Code 5542(b)(2)