Overtime Pay for Interstate Drivers

The Fair Labor and Standards Act, which establishes rules for employers concerning maximum hours and overtime wages, has several clauses that excuse some employers from having to pay time and one-half for overtime wages. One such exemption provides that getting paid time and one-half for overtime hours is not required for any employee with respect to who the Secretary of Transportation has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of the Motor Carrier Act (“MCA”).

Those employees that fall under the MCA include motor common carriers (those who publicly provide motor vehicle transportation for compensation) and motor contract carriers (those who provide transportation of persons or property pursuant to some agreement). See 49 U.S.C. § 10102. Additionally, the MCA also covers private motor carriers, who are those that are neither common nor contract carriers, and who (1) transport property by motor vehicle in interstate commerce; (2) own or have been given custody by the owner of the property being transported; and (3) are transporting the property in order to sell, rent or otherwise further a business goal. See 49 U.S.C. § 10102.

It is not just drivers who are covered by the MCA, but also those who affect the safety and operation of the vehicles being driven. Therefore, courts have found that the MCA covers nearly all (1) drivers of motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce; (2) drivers’ helpers on such vehicles; (3) mechanics who repair and service such vehicles; and (4) loaders of such vehicles. See 29 C.F.R. § 782.2(b)(3).

The most important question in determining whether the MCA applies is the character of the employer’s business, not necessarily the specific acts performed by the employee. Therefore, any person within that business that has the opportunity to affect interstate commerce through actual transportation on a vehicle or to affect the safe operation of that vehicle through maintenance and loading, or the supervision thereof, will also be considered exempt from getting paid time and one-half for overtime hours worked. However, if the business not does participate in interstate commerce, then the MCA exemption is unlikely to be applicable, and those employees should still be getting paid time and one-half for those overtime hours worked.

Here at Pogust Braslow & Millrood, we are actively involved in litigation based on violations of federal and state overtime laws. If you are uncertain whether your employer is paying your overtime wages correctly, then contact us on our webpage at www.pbmattorneys.com so that we can work to protect your rights.