As a truck driver, you must understand the laws that affect your profession to avoid being taken advantage of, especially if you work long hours to deliver products on time across the country. There has been a wave of lawsuits regarding wage and overtime disputes, including a recent Department of Labor case against a Detroit truck company in 2022. The company was eventually ordered to pay $273,820 in overtime back wages to 326 former truck drivers.
Federal wage and overtime laws protect you from mistreatment and wage theft by your employer. By knowing the law, you can protect your rights to a fair living and seek legal guidance from an overtime dispute lawyer in Michigan.
Who is Eligible for Overtime Pay?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) imposes minimum wage and overtime standards on most employers. Employers must keep accurate records of the number of their working employees and the hourly wages due to them. They must also pay overtime for hourly employees exceeding 40 hours during the work week.
Employees who worked overtime are eligible to receive one and a half times their regular wages. For example, an employee working $20 per hour during the workweek can receive overtime pay at $30 for every hour over 40 hours. If the employee worked 45 hours during the work week, they would receive $800 for the first 40 hours and $150 for the 5 hours of overtime.
Businesses that employ two or more workers must pay overtime to those who work more than 40 hours per week in Michigan.
How Does the Fair Labor Standards Act Protect Truck Drivers?
Many hourly-paid employees may receive overtime pay under the FLSA, but job-specific exceptions do exist. The FLSA’s Motor Carrier Exemption covers these exceptions.
If any of the following conditions apply, you are likely ineligible for overtime:
Your Employer is a Motor Carrier or a Private Motor Carrier
The FLSA defines motor carriers as companies that move cargo for compensation, and private motor carriers as persons other than motor carriers transporting property for sale or lease by vehicle. If your employer does not fall under a motor carrier or private motor carrier category, you can receive overtime pay.
The types of companies that need to offer overtime pay to employees include:
- Commercial garages
- Repair shops for vehicles owned by motor carriers
- Vehicle leasing and rental companies for motor carriers
You Work Directly for a Truck Company
If you are employed by a trucking company as a truck driver, driver’s assistant, cargo loader, or mechanic, and your duties could potentially impact the safe operation of a vehicle traveling on public highways over state lines, you may be ineligible for overtime.
For example, drivers and drivers’ assistants are responsible for safely operating trucks on the road. Cargo loaders would likewise be exempt from overtime pay requirements if their duties include ensuring the proper loading of products into the truck, as improper loading can lead to crashes. Mechanics are ineligible for overtime pay if they directly repair trucks transporting goods.
Employees who perform these duties are excluded from overtime pay requirements unless the tasks have little effect on the vehicle’s operational safety.
Workers whose duties do not affect the safety of trucks can receive overtime. These employees include:
- Truck dispatchers
- Administrative personnel
- Cargo unloaders
- Cargo workers who load but do not directly supervise safe loading
Your Vehicle Doesn’t Qualify for the Small Vehicle Exception
The vehicle must weigh at least 10,000 pounds or more to qualify for an overtime exemption. If you drive or perform weekly maintenance on a small vehicle that weighs 10,000 pounds or less, you’re eligible for overtime pay.
Overtime exemptions do not apply to these vehicles:
- Vehicles designed to transport more than 8 passengers, including the drivers, for compensation
- Vehicles designed to carry 15 or more passengers, including the drivers
- Hazardous material transport vehicles that require placarding under Transportation Department regulations
You may be due overtime pay if your employer cannot prove one or more of these elements. For instance, if you are an independent truck driver transporting products for a company, you might be eligible for overtime pay if you worked more than 40 hours.
Fieger Law Can Help with Your Wage and Overtime Dispute
Your hard work transporting crucial products across the country deserves fair compensation. Fieger Law can help you understand your rights as a truck driver if you received an unjust payment. We know federal and state overtime pay laws and will represent you in court if necessary.
We work with truck drivers across the United States to pursue the compensation they deserve for their work.
Contact our law office today for a free case evaluation by calling or completing our online case submission form.