EE wants company to pay for travel time to vacation destination.

[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 03-30-06 AT 12:08PM (CST)[/font][br][br]*sigh*

There is potential supplier in Kentucky we would like to audit. The employee who does these audits just happens to be going to Kentucky on vacation next week. When the President found out where she'll be, he said "why don't you just do the audit while you're down there." *sigh* She tells me she'll only do it if the company pays for travel (gas, mileage on her personal vehicle), food, lodging and her regular wages while she's at the site. Her reason: The company would pay for these items if she were to go any other time. Of course, she'll be receiving vacation pay this whole while.

I told her I'd look into the technicalities of it, but that's it's highly unlikely (!!) the company would pay her to travel on her vacation! (I didn't QUITE word it that way...) I recommended that she NOT mix a vacation with work time.

What would you do?


  • 11 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I'd call it a regular work week, pay for the travel and not pay her or charge her any vacation time. I'm assuming the work will take the entire week. If not, then I would only pay regular work wages for the days she's working and charge vacation for the other times.
  • I concurr, if she does the work, then she is entitled to the pay and benefits. One goes on vacation to get away and not be faced with the activities of work. To now impose a work requirement on me because I am there, is unfair and if a non-exempt employee you will owe the employee anyway. If exempt, then the company should compensate for what ever time is taken up by the company and its requirement for doing work. Otherwise, wait for me to return and now you pay the whole bill and your Chief is pissed off at this employee.

  • >I'd call it a regular work week, pay for the travel and not pay her or charge her any
    >vacation time. I'm assuming the work will take the entire week. If not, then I would only pay
    >regular work wages for the days she's working and charge vacation for the other times.

    Ditto - and pay only the percentage of the other usual travel expenditures that correspond with the number of days worked in that week. For example, if she works 3 out of 5 days, reimburse her for 60% of her expenses related to work. Be sure to clear the number of hotel nights you'll pay for in advance, though, and include in this pre-trip arrangement any kind of [i]per diem[/i] allowance and when that allowance kicks in or stops. For example, if she goes off the clock at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and starts her vacation, don't pay for her Wednesday supper. You may also want to offer her a flexible vacation day exchange if your company has one of those policies that an employee's vacation has to be scheduled six months in advance...

    OR, you could cancel her entire vacation, assign her the audit, calculate everything like a usual business trip, and then tell her she can take off for vacation any days she isn't working that week.

  • We had this kind of thing happen once a long time ago. During the time the employee was actually working and accruing expenses, we paid her for work and reimbursed expenses. During the rest of the week, she was paid vacation time. I believe we agreed to pay a small portion (I think it was $50) of her original air fare. Our argument was that she was paying for it anyway (and if we cancelled her vacation to send her at a more opportune time...)

    We presented it like we were doing her a favor, and she was doing us one. It worked and everyone was happy.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks everyone for your input. After gathering more information, turns out this audit will only take 2-3 hours. So, what we're talking about here is a pre-planned, personal trip where the only company time is 2-3 hours out of one week. To accompany those 2-3 hours, this employee wants ALL her travel (gas, mileage) and part of her lodging (she's camping - with her family) because "we would have paid it anyway if we were going to send (her) down there."

    Maybe I'm out-of-touch, but to me, it doesn't make sense that the company would pay for (basically all of) her pre-planned vacation expenses for 2-3 hours of work.. Of course, we would pay her for her time actually doing the audit...
  • Because she's right. If she weren't planning a vacation to the same location, you would pay for her travel to and from the location and probably one or two hotel nights.
  • Ditto to AJ SPHR's response.
  • I digress. I just talked to the President about the situation and now I get it. Part of my confusion was a misunderstanding that she wanted us to cover expenses for her family as well as for her. Boy, it's a lot more embarrassing to have momentary lapses of intellect on the world wide web than it is to be stupid in private!

    Thanks again for your feedback!
  • KDSPA: Don't beat up on yourself over nothing, that is the reason we are here, to help each of us learn and execute correctly more often than not! This forum, previously, had a few subscribers that would attack, I think, just to read their words and feel the pain over the WEB. They are not here anymore for their own reasons, but for the FORUM the exchanges are no longer heated. Thanks to ML Smith, things appear to be more peaceful and on track. We have all made mistakes, we are only Human you know!


  • Thanks for the encouragement, PORK. It is so valuable to receive feedback from other HR professionals, and I especially appreciate it when the feedback can be given with tact and a genuine intent to help, as you have done. Thanks to everyone who has helped me with this one!

    P.S. Sorry for the delayed response - we recently had a death in our family and I've been a bit distracted.
  • So sorry to hear about your loss. I know that this can really take your mind to other places and make it hard to concentrate.

    There are several questions that I don't think have been brougt up. First, is this an exempt or non-exempt employee? Did the employee come forward and volunteer to do this or did you ask her to? Would this have been done if the employee hadn't been going?
    Now back to what I think I understand... If this is something that you would need to have done whether or not the employee is going to this area or not, I would see what you would normally cover for a person to handle this. I would not pay her any more than it would normally cost, and perhaps not as much depending upon the situation. (If she is driving, you could calculate what you would normally pay for transportation, whether, it plane, bus, train or car). You could pay her up to that amount, as long as it could be justified. (ie. If normally would drive and at "x cents per mile" it would cost $100.00 and she is flying and it costs her $300... I would pay up to $100 as long as she provides you with documentation to show the costs incurred, just like a normal business trip.) Since only about 3 hours work, I would not pay for overnight stay. Should be able to get there, take care of it and come back (if this is normal, Surely you have done this before and have records of what it costs you previously). If no overnight stay, we would not normally pay for food. Just handle like a regular business trip and you may find you both get a "deal out of it" Win - Win. I would pay her for the entire day since she would be traveling etc for this day normally, and not make her take it as vacation... but only one day.
    E Wart
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