Commuting Time and Travel Reimbursement
What is commuting time?
Commuting time is the measure of hours spent by people to reach work place and coming back. With the rising traffic in all developing countries, it is a daily task to accomplish to commute to your work place. Commuting time is taking toll over the employees who every day needs to travel to reach their work place and reach back home. India is not untouched with this problem as well, with poor traffic management to less advanced infrastructure facility adds up to this issue.
Does labour law cover commuting time?
There are no provisions relating to payment on commuting time as per labour laws in India. Commuting time is still not considered to be a reason of consideration for the employers and government in the country. It lacks the attention that is required towards this daily struggle fought by an individual to attain his livelihood by working.
Does the commuting time form part of working hours?
No the commuting time taken by the employee is not considered as a part of working hours and therefore is also not considered for payment. Despite some major portion of time spent by an employee in commuting to his/her work place, it is not considered a part of working hours. With the long working hours and addition time of commuting takes large portion of the day from life. Employees leave early from their place to reach workplace and returns is seen in a similar way for late evenings.
Are commuting hours paid in India?
Labour laws in India do not provide any provisions relating to payment of commuting expenditures/conveyance allowances for the hours spent on commute. However, Central Government employees and Indian Railway employees are paid Conveyance/Transport allowances as a part in their salary. But this has no relevance to the commuting time taken by the employee.
Private employers also pay some variable of salary as a fuel expenses, but is not considered as a reimbursement for the commuting hours or the distance.
What if the commuting time takes up more than a working day?
Indian labour laws do not provide any provision relating to this till date. Despite the increasing traffic on roads day by day, the commuting time for the employees is turning out to be a severe problem and leading to frustration and pain. A private study puts the average commuting time in Mumbai at 47.26 minutes; Delhi at 42.96; Bangalore at 37.91; Chennai at 36.08; Hyderabad at 33.82 and Pune at 30.87 minutes.[i]
What are strategies or benefits provided to the employees to avoid time loss of commuting time?
With the changing scenario, many companies have started looking at a changing trend of working which is beneficial for them and individual perspective as well. There are many policies that are developed by the companies for mutual consideration such as work from home, flexi time, staggered work shifts, telecommuting, part-time working, etc. are some of the alternate options that are looked by the companies. There are many big companies who have been lured by these options and their benefits. These companies are considered as employee-friendly companies and are preferred by most employees. Many business jargons are working up by these policies to achieve organisational goals and individual goals with mutual consideration.
Work from home culture took some time to pick up pace in India, as work monitoring was an issue. But with the development of softwares such as “Remote Access Software” this helps the employee to access his work from any part of the world and helps employer by administering the work and its backup at the company server. Companies are also conducting training programmes for the employees to train them of problems, distraction and planning of work, while working from home.