DOL today published an opinion letter clarifying that employers don’t need to pay truck drivers for the time they spend sleeping.
Although many drivers sleep in truck berths provided by their employer, DOL said the drivers need not be paid unless they’re on call to work. The opinion was issued at the request of a family-owned, long-haul trucking company.
“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,” DOL’s Wage and Hour Division wrote in a letter.
Under former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, DOL resumed the practice of issuing opinion letters based on questions from employers, often as a way of loosening regulations without going through the formal process. While letters do not remove regulations, they send signals to businesses about DOL’s interpretation of the law.