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Are Truck Drivers Supposed to Be Paid For Time Waiting For Loading & Unloading?

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What is the law in California for waiting time for drivers?

Many of you know that I have represented more truck and delivery drivers than any lawyer in California. Many of my clients are paid by the mile or by the run. For many drivers, sitting at a terminal waiting for the truck to be loaded or unloaded usually means that you aren’t getting paid.   Many companies don’t pay for time waiting for the load to be loaded or unloaded. Is this legal under California law for drivers?

Many trucking companies and delivery companies don’t pay for waiting time. The way this goes down is when you make a delivery and have to wait while the truck is being unloaded or you have to wait at a terminal until it is your turn for your truck to get unloaded. Not getting paid for this waiting time is illegal under California law.

Under California piece rate compensation laws for truck drivers, the company has to pay you for all the time you work - not just for piece rate items.  This includes waiting for a terminal to open up or waiting in line at a terminal.

Even if you aren't getting paid by piece rate, all employees in California - including drivers - must be paid for all the time that they work. Waiting for the truck to be loaded or waiting for your run to start is considered work time in California. Any time that you are under the control of the company or you have any duties to perform is considered work time in California. 

Under California law, the time you spend as a truck driver waiting for goods to be loaded or unloaded are hours worked that the company has to pay you for.

When the company/ your employer (or former employer) violate the California Labor CodeCalifornia Wage Orders and/or California's PAGA laws; you may be entitled to A LOT of money in unpaid wages and/or penalties.

Smiling clients with their settlements checks from a California Unpaid Wages Case
It feels really good when you get your check for unpaid wages owed to you!

What is the difference between waiting time for drivers and waiting time penalties?  

For drivers, “waiting time” has to be distinguished from “waiting time penalties.”  They are very different.   “Waiting time” for drivers is the time you spend waiting, usually in the truck or near the truck. For example, time you spend waiting for the truck to be loaded or the time spent waiting for a terminal to open up.

“Waiting time penalty” is a payment that is owed California workers when their pay is not properly provided at time of termination. I have many posts on waiting time penalties.  This post is about the driver waiting time.

You are also entitled to an hour's pay for every missed meal break (under both the Wage Order 9 for Transportation workers and California Labor Code Section 512) and you are entitled to an hour's pay for every missed rest break under California law.

In addition, you will be entitled to paycheck stub violations and waiting time penalties. 

What can I do?

Make no mistake about it, this is another form of wage theft.  The company is stealing your money.  You can be a silent victim - or you can stand up for your hard earned wages.

If you still work at the company - you may be concerned about getting fired if you file a claim.  If this is your concern, I can help you with this.  If you don’t work at the company anymore, you can get your wages back for the last 4 years under California law.


California's leading wage lawyer

Bill Turley on the cover of San Diego Attorney Journal magazine

I'm not saying this to brag. I'm telling you this so you will know that I know what I'm talking about.  I represented the workers in the leading California Supreme Court case on California unpaid wages law - Brinker vs. Superior Court. I wrote the winning briefs in the recent California Supreme Court cases - Augustus vs. Superior Court (the leading case on rest breaks) and Williams vs. Superior Court (the case that gives you the right to getting the names of your co-employees in a PAGA  wages case).


Bill Turley testifying in California State Senate regarding California wage laws

Bill regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California State Assembly on unpaid wages law.


Bill also helped write the recent changes to California's unpaid wages PAGA laws.

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Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.

Just because we have gotten great results in so many other driver class action cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in in other case. Every case is different. In other words, your mileage may vary. 

William Turley
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“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
I’m currently with a company who is having me drive illegal amount of hours doing illegally paper logs and every time I wait for a load to be loaded or unloaded we don’t get paid until after the 2nd hour is that legal ?
Posted by Angela Rodriguez on August 12, 2019 at 04:53 PM
Im a company driver. I delivered load Monday last in Kentucky. . im based out of California. Im still waiting to get a load. My come also has had me out 22 days while not paying me anything for the work ive done. Im out ofmoney starving and not sure what can do. Help. They still wont bting mr in and i have docs apt on tuesday that i was injured on this job and never allowed to go to thwork comp doc. I will miss this apt.
Posted by Robert Locksley on November 12, 2016 at 09:53 AM

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