What Is Considered Reasonable?
The term “job travel” can refer to a number of different circumstances. It can refer to traveling to another office, department or site on a temporary or permanent business trip. In other cases, however, it can refer to traveling for a work-related vacation. When an employee needs to do the job from home, often an employee must travel to another location for the job, though there are other ways of doing the job without travel. For example, when an employer needs to hire additional staff to cover a site for a work-intensive development program, the employer is usually responsible for providing lodging for workers including alternate means of travel for job-related travel.
An employee is not required to report to a job when traveling off-site. However, an employee should make accommodations for hotel and travel expenses, such as car rentals if traveling off-site. If the employer does provide such accommodations, he or she must provide similar accommodations for family members. Similarly, an employer is not required to provide special benefits or services for employees who need to travel for their jobs. An exception to this principle is provided when the employee needs to obtain such services for the benefit of others, such as when traveling for the spouse, children or parents. In those cases, the employer may pay for all or part of the expense.
In some cases, an employee is not required to report to a job when traveling off-site. These situations typically arise when the employee is traveling to and from an off-site clinic. However, many companies provide such services. Again, these services are usually paid for by the employer. When the same facilities that provide medical treatment are used for other purposes, however, an employee may be entitled to compensation for time away from the job. The same would apply for on-the-job training that is required for a second job, if the employee is traveling to and from it for such training.
A number of factors determine what constitutes a reasonable accommodation. Factors such as whether the travel is major, domestic or international, if the employee will have his or her own accommodations while traveling, and if the employer provides such accommodations are all factors considered in determining what is reasonable. Even the cost of airfare, rental cars and even hotel rooms can constitute reasonable accommodations. What is reasonable may depend on the length of time the employee is traveling, the purpose of the trip and the expected duration of the trip. Reasonable accommodations also include a combination of factors such as convenience, access to common areas, support of local amenities and support for the employee’s family.
Some employers provide their employees with certain benefits in order to facilitate their work-related travel. The most common benefits provided by employers for on-the-job accommodations are hotels, meals, transportation to and from the airport, support for the family and a host of entertainment options. It is important for an employee to determine the extent of his accommodation needs before he makes his first class selection. Some employers will provide only one night’s hotel room at a low rate. Others will provide an entire hotel package along with rent for the week. In addition, some employers will provide meals and transportation to and from the hotel.
When determining what is reasonable for on-the-job accommodations, it is important for an employee to consider not just the cost of airfare and accommodation but the cost of meals and transportation. An employee should make sure that he has adequate transportation to and from the airport on the day of his work-related travel. If the airline’s total baggage limit does not meet the employee’s requirement for on-board accommodations, then he should ask the employer for a further explanation. Similarly, if the employer provides only a single night’s accommodation and the cost of that one night is more than the value of his air fare and rental car, then the employee must be provided with a reasonable alternative.