Aug 04, 2016
By Peter Friedmann

Must Truck Drivers Be Paid Overtime?

The first question to ask is if your employer or you personally are covered by the protections of the FLSA.  You can be covered by your employer’s status under the FLSA, referred to as “enterprise coverage” or individually if you work for an employer that engages in interstate commerce.  Most people are covered by the protections of the FLSA.

Navigate to The Department of Labor for a helpful, step by step, analysis.

Next, if you are covered, you must know whether you are classified as “exempt” or “nonexempt” under the FLSA.

Employees are either “exempt” or “non-exempt” from the protections of the FLSA.  Non-exempt means the employee is covered by the FLSA and must be paid one and one-half times their regular hourly wage for every hour worked over 40 hours per week.

Other employees are exempt from the provisions of the FLSA, which means they DO NOT qualify for overtime pay for hours worked over 40 hours per week.  Do truck drivers fall into this exemption?  Read on to find out.

You can also visit this page for FAQ’s about the FLSA and these exemptions:

Motor Carrier Act Exemption under FLSA

Is your employer a motor carrier or private motor carrier?  Motor carriers are persons providing motor vehicle transportation for compensation. Motor private carriers are persons other than motor carriers transporting property by motor vehicle if the person is the owner, lessee or bailee of the property being transported, and the property being transported is for sale, lease, rent, bailment or to further a commercial enterprise.

Section 213(b) of the FLSA provides that overtime requirements do not apply to “any employee with respect to whom the Secretary of Transportation has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours.”  So if the Secretary of Transportation has the power to establish qualifications and maximum hours for the employer, chances are the truck drivers are exempt from overtime pay.

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA) exempts only motor carrier employees who operate a “commercial motor vehicle.”  To be considered a “commercial motor vehicle” under the Motor Carrier Act Exemption, the vehicle must have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) over 10,000 pounds.  This means loaded AND unloaded.

This is very important, if the truck is LESS THAN 10,000 pounds, loaded or unloaded, you must pay the employees overtime. 

To recap, in order for you to be exempt from overtime as a truck driver, your employer must be a 1) a motor carrier as defined above; and 2) you must operate a commercial motor vehicle that is over 10,000 pounds loaded or unloaded.

Lastly, as a driver you must also have job duties that “affect the safety of operation of motor vehicles while in transporation on public highways in interstate or foreigh commerce.”  Transportation involved in the employee’s duties must involve interstate commerce.  For a complete explanation of this portion of the analysis, contact one of our Columbus employment attorneys, as it is very fact intensive.

If you have any questions about this analysis or are unsure if you are entitled to overtime compensation, contact one of our Cincinnati employment lawyers today.