Boeing Agrees to Pay Millions in Unpaid Travel Time

June 7, 2024
By Missy Oakley & Lex Shvartsmann
Barran Liebman LLP,
Oregon Law Firm

When was the last time you reviewed your policies related to compensating employees for travel time? Washington just gave us a great reminder as to why now is a great time to consider those policies. A recent Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) investigation into complaints it received regarding Boeing’s travel time policies found that, between 2019 and 2023, the company had not paid its non-exempt employees for all hours worked while traveling out-of-town for work. Based on those hours, Boeing also owed these employees overtime and sick leave accrual.

Boeing’s failure to comply with Washington’s travel time rules cost the company $11.5 million in back pay to nearly 500 employees – the largest amount of back pay returned to workers in L&I’s history.

Washington Travel Time

Washington employees must be compensated for all “hours worked,” meaning “all hours during which the employee is authorized or required by the employer to be on duty on the employer’s premises or at a prescribed work place.” WAC 296-126-002(8). Generally, this requirement includes (1) time spent traveling to a different worksite during the workday, (2) time spent traveling to a different city but returning the same day, and (3) work-related out-of-town travel that requires an overnight stay, including hours during and outside of normal working hours.

Oregon Travel Time

In Oregon (and under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act), travel time compensation requirements are less generous than in Washington. While almost all the same travel time rules apply, work-related out-of-town travel that requires an overnight stay only includes hours traveled during normal working hours. Time spent on work-related out-of-town travel outside of an employee’s regular working hours is excluded from an employee’s “hours worked.” OAR 839-020-0045.

Employers should review their policies to ensure compliance with their state’s travel time compensation rules and avoid costly wage and hours issues.

For any wage and hour questions, contact Missy Oakley at 503-276-2122 or [email protected].

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