Are truck drivers automatically due overtime?

Q. Are motor carriers exempt from complying with California’s usual overtime pay requirements?

A. Employers of drivers in certain industries that are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the California Public Utilities Commission or the California Highway Patrol may be exempt from California overtime requirements. The exemptions apply to drivers of commercial vehicles used in interstate commerce on behalf of a business. The relevant California Public Utilities Commission and California Highway Patrol regulations apply to drivers of several types of vehicles, including trucks over 10,000 pounds, school buses, tour buses and more.

According to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, this exemption from overtime “only applies to employees whose regular duty is that of a driver.” Primary, assistant and relief drivers qualify.

Note that certain wage orders, such as those regulating the broadcasting, movie, agriculture, domestic and construction/drilling/logging/mining industries, do not allow an exemption from overtime requirements for drivers. Additionally, the exemption does not apply to drivers of airport shuttles, hotel shuttles or limousines.