Pay for Meals while Traveling

I have a non-exempt employee who will be traveling to a trade show with other exempt sales persons.

1. During the course of the trip, they will be meeting for breakfast & other meals. There will obviously be discussion of the day's activities, maybe some planning of who will do what, etc. Is this considered "work" and are we obligated to pay her for this time?

2. There will also be a "banquet" which she will be attending. I see this "banquet" as being required for her to attend and therefore should be paid as hours of work. Is this correct?

I understand the portal to portal act for everything else but the meals.


  • 2 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I believe that you should pay her for her meals since it is in the regular course of her job that has her traveling. We pay for all of our employees meals and travel when they leave the facility for the day for meetings, etc. We do, however, require itemized receipts for all purchases and we do not pay for alcoholic beverages. Hope this helps a little.
  • If the meal will be required in order to plan the work day, you will need to pay this nonexempt employee for the meal time.

    You need to look to the purpose of the trip, and the purpose of the meal. If it is simply a meal to provide nourishment, and the nonexempt employee would be free to eat at any resturant or in the hotel room, at the employee's choice, then this is time at the employee's leisure, and not compensable. But, if you, or the person in charge of the trip, selects the dining place and time, and dictates that he/she be in attendance you must pay for the time spent, both in eating and discussion of business matters.

    As far a reimbursing the employee for the cost of a meal, most companies I have worked for reimburse the employee, whether or not the meal time is compensable as "time worked."
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