Sleeper berth opinion letter withdrawn: What it means for you

June 25, 2021 Casey Nighbor

Trucks with sleeper berths

With a new administration comes new policies and often repealing previous ones. This is the case with the Department of Labor Opinion Letter interpreting sleeper berth regulations that was released 2 years ago.

Here’s what you need to know.

What happened?

A 2019 Department of Labor (DOL) Opinion Letter issued during the Trump era clarifying whether truck drivers must be paid for time in the sleeper berth has been withdrawn by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division under the Biden administration.  The impact of withdrawing this opinion is that old guidance has been reinstated.

Under the guidance that has been reinstated, it is the DOL’s position that while sleeping time “may be excluded from hours worked where ‘adequate facilities’ were furnished, only up to eight hours of sleeping time may be excluded in a trip 24 hours or longer, and no sleeping time may be excluded for trips under 24 hours.”

Click here to read the DOL’s opinion letters.

What does this means for you?

Employers are now required to potentially pay more for their drivers on long-haul or overnight trips because there are now limited on how much sleeping time can be excluded.

Overall, the Biden administration is creating a more driver-friendly outcome when drivers are in the sleeper berth. And this is just one recent example. It stands to reason that more employee protections may be coming down the pipeline in this administration in the future.

Why you should partner with a trusted driving partner

Compliance and employment regulations like these are highly technical and often nuanced. As a trucking employer, you have to harmonize the regulations from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). Failing to do so can result in compliance violations, fines and class action suits.

Not sure which regulations your operation needs to follow? Reach out to a trusted driving partner like Centerline Drivers to get this right. We can help you sort through the many federal, state and local regulations to reduce your compliance risk.

Curious about more compliance regulations? Download our free compliance guide here.

This article is not, nor is it intended to constitute legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel with any specific compliance questions.

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