Worker Says Commute Time Should Be Paid, Sparking Debate: 'Suck It Up'

A viral Reddit post has ignited a discussion about whether or not the commute to work should be paid for by an employer, and people have strong opinions on either side of the aisle.

The Reddit post, titled, "Commute time should be paid for," has been upvoted 31,400 times with 3,500 comments since it was shared on March 22. Redditor @mxbright878 shared the short post that has sparked quite the debate in the subreddit "Unpopular Opinion."

An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Portal-to-Portal Act, states that an employer isn't obligated legally to compensate an employee for time traveling from where they live to their job before and after a given workday [via Employment Law Handbook].

"If I'm driving or getting to work, that time should be paid for by the company," the original poster (OP) reasoned. "It's not my free time and not time where I can be doing anything else but traveling to the worksite."

A debate ensued over the situation in the comments, and people have drastically different opinions on the matter. One person admitted they "didn't realize this was unpopular, it's the standard in most other countries."

Woman getting out of car
A worker says commute time should be paid, igniting a debate online. Here, a woman getting out of the car for work with a coffee in hand. CREATIVE CREDIT/GETTY

Some think the commute time should be factored into "what you require for compensation," which would be discussed at the time of hire.

One person simply put it: "This concept is called 'salary.'" Another told the OP to "suck it up."

Some had criticism over what the Redditor said in the post. "But you chose that job knowing the distance from your home," a viewer said. "That's your problem, not the company."

Another straight-up calls the OP's statement "stupid," adding, "Then basically two people could have the exact same job and one gets paid more because it takes longer to get to work."

Others admit they already get paid for their commute. "I get paid for commute in the Netherlands," a Redditor said. "It's calculated by how many kilometers you live from work, not the time it takes. Not every workplace does this, but it's not uncommon."

While some agree with the OP that the commute time should be paid for but with stipulations. "Absolutely, but only along the common route," a user expressed. "Not including delays. People would run errands and s**t trying to charge the time. Distance from your house to work in miles or minutes. There and back paid. Nothing extra."

Another Redditor doesn't think it's an "unpopular opinion" though, adding, "Many people would love to be paid for their travel time. IMO, people forget to take commuting time and expenses into account when negotiating their salaries."

One person isn't sure why the OP is getting so much heat from others. "Especially since most of us now know we can do our jobs at home in comfort," a Redditor pointed out. "There is nothing outrageous about demanding that we be compensated for that unnecessary travel time."

An employer could also then discriminate based on the distance to the office, which was also brought up by some. "And immediately, anyone who commutes more than 15 minutes for work is fired, you can pick up your final paycheck at the front desk," a Redditor said.

Newsweek has reached out to Redditor @mxbright878 for comment.