October 2017 Newsletter – School Districts

Travelling Time and the Law

It is fairly common that educational institutions send hourly workers to attend training off campus. However, the issue arises regarding how to account for the time travelling to and from the training. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the time spent at a work-related event or training, as well as the travel time, are compensable as “hours worked.” Not only can this give rise to an obligation to pay overtime to the employees, but also, it can affect the calculation of the total number of full-time workers for purposes of determining coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Under the regulations interpreting the Affordable Care Act, “hours of service” includes every hour for which “an employee is paid, or entitled to payment, for the performance of duties for the employer; and each hour for which an employee is paid, or entitled to payment by the employer for a period of time during which no duties are performed due to vacation, holiday, illness, incapacity (including disability), layoff, jury duty, military duty or leave of absence.”

In addition, any injury an employee sustains in travel or at the training would likely fall under the purview of workers compensation, and any injury the employee causes third parties could give rise to vicarious liability for the educational institution. For purposes of workers compensation, the employee is covered so long as the employer obtained any benefit from the employee’s travel or attendance at the training.

Liability for third party injury is more complicated. Under California law, the California Claims Act (Govt. Code § 810 et seq.) establishes the basic principles of liability of a governmental entity for claims of damages alleged against it. Under the Claims Act, claims for injuries must be presented to the public entity within a specified period after the occurrence. Even if timely, a government institution is generally immune from liability.  However, if the injury is caused by an employee’s negligence, the institution may be liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability.

If your institution has any of these issues, feel free to contact us to obtain more information.

For more information regarding this article, please contact Ken Baisch at kbaisch@ericksonlaw.com. For questions in general regarding this newsletter, please contact Kristina Limon at klimon@ericksonlaw.com.

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This publication was prepared solely for information purposes and should not be construed to be legal advice. If you would like further information on this matter, please contact our office.

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