The U.S. Department of Labor on July 22 issued guidance on whether carriers must pay truck drivers for time spent in a sleeper berth.
The Wage and Hour Division concluded in an opinion letter (FLSA2019-10) that, “The driver’s time spent in the berth was time when the driver was relieved of all duties and was ‘permitted to sleep in adequate facilities furnished by the employer,’ and presumptively non-working, off-duty time.”
The opinion was issued in response to a request from a small, family-owned motor carrier that operates a fleet of 10 trucks.
The American Trucking Associations praised the opinion clarifying that time spent in the sleeper berth does not count as compensable time.
In a statement to media, ATA said, “This opinion, which is consistent with decades-old DOL regulations, the weight of judicial authority, and the long understanding of the trucking industry, clears up confusion created by two recent court decisions that called the compensability of sleeper berth time into question.
ATA said that DOL’s opinion represented a straightforward, plain-language reading of the law. The trade association also said that opinion letters provide an opportunity for stakeholders to better understand their compliance obligations prospectively, rather than settling such matters through costly and wasteful litigation.
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