Home care workers may not need to be compensated for some travel time or time they spend in clients’ homes under certain conditions, according to opinion letters issued Dec. 31 by the Department of Labor.

In a letter about travel time, the DOL said that although most travel time that occurs during the workday is “compensable,” exceptions exist. For example, if an employee receives permission to leave work early for a personal appointment and to perform work at home, then the travel time back home is not compensable. Similarly, if an employee works from home in the morning before a doctor’s appointment and then goes to the office to continue working, the travel time to the doctor’s appointment and then to the office is not compensable.

The other letter, about live-in-home healthcare, addresses a pay plan for live-in home healthcare workers working extended shifts. Employers, the DOL said, are to calculate what the employee would be paid based on an hourly rate and 1.5 times that rate for hours worked beyond eight in a day and 40 in a week. The entire shift is compensable except for meal periods and sleep breaks of up to eight hours. If, however, those periods are interrupted for work reasons, then that time is compensable.