Are You Entitled to Overtime if You are a Trucker in California?

Many truckers in California work more than eight hours in a day or more than forty hours in a week.  Based on the number of hours they work, many drivers believe they are entitled to overtime pay, but Gear-and-Gavel_goldare they right?  Maybe.  There are several factors that must be considered, such as 1) the route the trucker is driving; 2) the goods the trucker is transporting; and 3) the weight and length of the truck.

 

There are two sets of laws that can affect overtime compensation for truck drivers in California:  federal overtime law and California overtime law.
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In order to be exempt from federal law requirements, drivers must fall under the authority of the United States Department of Transportation (“DOT”).  California law applies to drivers whose activities are governed by the DOT or the State of California regulations.  If a driver qualifies for overtime under either law, he or she is entitled to overtime pay.

 

Under federal law, drivers might be exempt from overtime under the Motor Carrier Exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The issue is whether a driver is involved in interstate commerce.  For example, if a driver transports goods over state borders, he or she is involved in interstate commerce and exempt from overtime.  If a driver carries goods that have crossed or will cross state lines, the entire shipment will likely be considered “interstate” and the driver will not be entitled to overtime.  If a driver transports goods only within the State of California, the driver may be entitled to overtime under FLSA.  However, under federal law, there are no provisions for overtime after eight hours in a day or doubletime for more than twelve hours in a day.  Rather, federal law only allows for overtime after forty hours of work in the work week.

 

Under California law, most truck drivers are exempt from overtime.  For example, truckers who drive trucks weighing over 26,001 pounds are exempt from overtime law.  If a truck weighs between 10,000- 26,001 pounds, the trucker is exempt from overtime if he or she is involved in interstate commerce.  Drivers of hazardous waste and farm labor vehicles are also exempt from overtime law.  If a driver tows a trailer and the combined length of the vehicles is over forty feet, or if the trailer weighs over 10,000 pounds, the driver is exempt from overtime law in California.   .

 

A truck driver may or may not be entitled to overtime compensation;  however, truck drivers generally are entitled to meal and rest breaks under California law.  If you are a truck driver in California and believe that you may be entitled to overtime pay or if you have questions about your work situation, please feel free to call Hunter Pyle Law for a free consultation at (510)-663-9240 or inquire@hunterpylelaw.com.  Hunter Pyle Law has represented many truck drivers throughout the State.