Law bars overtime for truck driver


Catch-22 policy on vacations is legal


I have worked many years as a truck driver for a local moving company. I often spend more than 40 hours on the road, and I believe my fellow drivers and I should earn overtime for those extra hours. But the company has always said we aren't eligible because of our job category. Is this true?

Your company is correct. But it's too bad it couldn't offer you an explanation.

When employees drive a truck and cross state lines regularly in their travels, they drive right into an exemption from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which the U.S. Department of Labor enforces.

According to a Labor Department citation about the exemption, "This has been interpreted as applying to any driver, driver's helper, loader or mechanic employed by a carrier and whose duties affect the safety of operation of a motor vehicle engaged in transportation on public highways of passengers or property in interstate or foreign commerce."

Although you may be ineligible for overtime pay, you still qualify for minimum wage for the hours you work. So your weekly pay should work out to at least the $5.15-an-hour federal minimum.

For more information, call the U.S. Department of Labor at 866-487-2365.

My company has a use-it-or-lose-it vacation policy. So you can't carry unused vacation time over to the next year. Yet our workloads make it impossible to take time off. Is the company required to pay for unused vacation time since we wind up losing so much?

If your company has a written policy that says its employees can't carry over vacation time and employees have been notified of that policy, then it is legal.

The rule probably feels illegal because the company gives you a paid vacation with one hand but takes it back with the other because you can't get the time off.

But it should largely be up to you to make sure you take a vacation.

Arrange the dates far in advance with the company and make reservations to get away somewhere. That will ensure that you take the time off or lose a big fat deposit.

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