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When Are Employers Required to Pay for Truck Drivers’ Time?

As products fly off the shelves across the nation due to the recent precautions taken concerning COVID-19 (coronavirus), there has been a rise in the demand for shipping services and truck drivers. As a result, big rig drivers for larger companies such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, and grocery store chains may be working overtime (even in excess of previous DOT limitations) and driving long distances. Drivers are now routinely working 70 hours a week over an 8-day period, or more. 

A recent federal court ruling in California resulted in a class of Walmart truck drivers collecting tens of millions of dollars in unpaid wages. The case addresses the question of when employers have to pay for their driver employees’ time and establishes many protections for truck drivers, including expanding the right to pay for breaks and seemingly off duty time for those who are paid by-the-mile. 

For truck drivers paid by-the-mile, companies must also pay them separately for a time after the wheels stop rolling, including on layovers. These drivers should also be paid for time spent during pre-trip and post-trip inspections, detention, loading, unloading, completing paperwork, refueling, and performing repair duties, as well as for any required downtime between runs. This time must be paid in addition to any by-the-mile pay, at an hourly rate of no less than minimum wage. 

In addition, California law requires employers to provide a separate paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours a truck driver works or fraction thereof. Payments for these rest breaks should be documented on the driver’s pay stub as a separate hourly wage, also at an hourly rate of no less than minimum wage. 

As the demand for truck drivers continues to grow, employees will be more at risk for not receiving what they are owed. Companies that choose not to comply with the laws for by-the-mile truck drivers may find themselves facing legal action, and large fines. 

If you believe your employer may have made a mistake on your pay stub, our trustworthy and reputable firm can help. Carter Law Firm obtained the #29 Top Class Action Settlement in the United States in 2018. Based in Newport Beach, we have been consistently rated as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and Settlements Labor and Employment Law practice. Fill out our form below to get started.