Q & A Session – Taking Leave for Travel Time


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I need to travel from my home office to another state for a meeting. Because of the available flights, I scheduled a flight at 9 a.m. and I will arrive at my destination around 10:30 a.m. The next flight leaves at 4:50 p.m. and will arrive around 6:30 p.m. My supervisor says I have to reschedule and take the later flight and still come in to work at my regular time (at 9:30 a.m.). This will require me to work an almost 12 hour day. Alternatively, my supervisor says if I take the earlier flight, I will need to take leave to cover the remainder of my 8 hour day. Can my supervisor force me to take leave to complete the 8 hours?


Even when travelling, an employee is still required to work during his/her normal duty hours.  In your case, your management can require you to report to your duty station prior to your departure for official travel.  If your travel results in you working more than a typical 8 hour work day, then you will be entitled to travel compensatory time for the amount of time in a travel status beyond 8 hours.  In the alternative, if your travel will result in you working less than an 8 hour day, your supervisor can require that you use leave to make up the difference.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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