Senators introduce bill guaranteeing OT pay for commercial drivers

A new bill, part of an effort to repeal the overtime exemption from a law that dates back more than 80 years, has renewed momentum in the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sens. Ed J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) have introduced the bill dubbed the “Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act” that would eliminate the overtime exemption of the 1938 Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

This bill essentially mirrors the U.S. House version. If enacted, all commercial vehicle drivers would be paid overtime for time worked over 40 hours in a week.

Broader exemption

While the bill’s title refers to truckers, all drivers currently subject to the exemption — including commercial passenger carrier drivers in interstate commerce — would be subject to overtime compensation should the bill be enacted.

“Outdated labor regulations have denied these vital workers overtime, leading to high turnover and supply chain disruptions,” Markey said in a statement.

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) introduced a House version (H.R. 7517) that currently has 10 co-sponsors, including one Republican. 

Support for legislation

The legislation is likely to enjoy considerable support from the Biden Administration. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s February 2022 Freight and Logistics Supply Chain Assessment called for the removal of the 1938 FLSA motor carrier exemption.

The legislation is supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Truck Safety Coalition, the Institute for Safer Trucking, Parents Against Tired Truckers and CRASH (Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways).

To read the full text of the one-page bill, click here.

Ken Presley is the Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations/COO for the United Motorcoach Association.


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