We are open for business through virtual meetings and teleconferences. Please call to (216) 912-2221 or click here to be connected to our attorneys.
Many employers require workers to travel as part of their job requirements. This can include easy travel across town. This can also include more extensive travel across the state of Ohio or even elsewhere throughout the country. However, one of the most common wage violations is not paying employees for travel time. At Scott & Winters Law Firm, LLC, our Cleveland unpaid travel time attorneys have the resources necessary to investigate your employer and help you recover any wages that you may be entitled to. We will not back down from aggressive employers as we work to ensure you are treated fairly.
Whether or not you are owed overtime pay for travel time is a tricky issue due to a law called the Portal-to-Portal Act. Under this law, your commute to and from work can be unpaid. This can include very long commutes to new work sites for specific assignments. While arguably unfair to employees, that is how the federal wage law (FLSA) is written.
The Fair Labor Standards Act states that time spent traveling during normal work hours is compensable work time. This can mean time spent on the road doing deliveries, running errands or transporting materials. Time spent traveling from home to work and back, however, is classified as a commute to work and does not legally have to be paid. This is true even if the employee travels to and from work in an employer-provided vehicle.
However, this law does not mean that all work travel is exempt from fair pay. A common violation is unpaid travel time during the workday. Home health aides who drive from one house to another, plumbers who drive from one assignment to another, or construction workers who travel between job sites during the day all must be paid for this travel time. Employees who are not paid for travel time during the workday may bring a lawsuit as a class or collective action when it applies across the board.
The Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Travel Rule is a state-specific law that governs the pay rates and requirements for the reimbursement of a worker’s travel expenses. It has been in effect since September 1, 2019, and is updated periodically to determine pay rates. As of January 1, 2023, the reimbursement rate under the OBM is $0.58 per mile. This rule also grants employees the right to receive per diem travel reimbursements, with maximum rates for lodging and meals set by location.
The OBM’s travel and expense submission process is available online, which can make worker reimbursement more convenient. Employees are expected to submit their work travel reimbursement requests within 60 days of the travel in question. After 90 days, the employee will lose the right to submit a reimbursement request. All accepted travel reimbursement requests will be paid to the same bank account that the employee has set up for state pay.
To submit your travel reimbursement request to the OBM, go to the MyOhio.gov website. Sign in Using your OHIID Workforce user ID and password. Select My Workspace>My Travel under Self-Service Quick Access. Under Travel Authorizations, click “Create/Modify.” Enter your employee ID and add a short description of your travel. Go through the rest of the form and fill out the requested information. Add any attachments or files, as necessary. To finish, click “Submit.”
Failing to pay an employee for covered travel time under Ohio state law is a tort or wrongdoing that can lead to employer liability. If you are not exempt from payment for travel time under the Portal-to-Portal Act or the FLSA, you may be a victim of a wage violation if your request for travel reimbursement gets denied. A wage violation in Cleveland can give you grounds to bring a claim against your employer to pursue compensation for your unpaid travel time.
You can start your case by filing a complaint against your boss or employer with the Ohio Department of Commerce. The Department will investigate your complaint and wage issue and may intervene to require your employer to pay what you are owed by law. You can also take your complaint to the federal level by contacting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. If one of these departments does not resolve the issue, you may need to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Seeking a financial recovery for unpaid travel expenses in Cleveland is easier with assistance from an attorney. Your lawyer can help you understand your legal rights as an employee, as well as submit the required paperwork to initiate a claim against your boss for you. If your lawyer successfully proves that you were unjustly unpaid for nonexempt travel time, you could receive financial compensation for your losses. This may include unpaid wages, interest, penalties and attorney’s fees.
Uncovering instances of unpaid travel can be challenging, and it is crucial to work with a skilled attorney who has experience handling these matters. A lawyer will first examine whether or not the employer is exempt from paying worker travel through the Portal-to-Portal Act. An attorney will then examine whether or not the specific travel should be exempted under this law, which includes looking at the type of occupation in question and when the travel occurred.
Workers may be able to recover compensation for travel expenses if the investigation uncovers a wage and hour law violation. This could include unpaid wages, interest on these wages, as well as court costs and legal fees.
Once you realize that you are owed compensation for unpaid travel time in Ohio, it is important to act quickly to contact an attorney and initiate a wage and hour claim. Ohio has a strict time limit known as the statute of limitations that imposes a deadline on your right to file. Under Ohio law, workers have two years to file claims for unpaid wages. For the most part, if you miss this time window, you will lose the right to seek financial compensation from your employer.
If you have not received proper pay from your employer for the time that you traveled from place to place as part of your job-related duties, turn to the team at Scott & Winters Law Firm for help immediately. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling complex wage and hour violations, and we know what it takes to help ensure that you recover fair compensation for these situations. When you need a Cleveland unpaid travel time attorney, contact us for a free consultation. We are available when you call (216) 912-2221.