DOL Issues New Opinion Letter
August 1, 2019
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued a new opinion letter changing its position on the compensability of time spent in a truck’s sleeper berth while otherwise relieved from duty. The WHD explains this change as follows:
“Under prior guidance, WHD interpreted the relevant regulations to mean that while sleeping time may be excluded from hours worked where “adequate facilities” were furnished, only up to 8 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. WHD has now concluded that this interpretation is unnecessarily burdensome for employers and instead adopts a straightforward reading of the plain language of the applicable regulation, under which the time drivers are relieved of all duties and permitted to sleep in a sleeper berth is presumptively non-working time that is not compensable. There may be circumstances, however, where a driver who retires to a sleeping berth is unable to use the time effectively for his or her own purposes. For example, a driver who is required to remain on call or do paperwork in the sleeping berth may be unable to effectively sleep or engage in personal activities; in such cases, the time is compensable hours worked.”
To read the opinion letter, FLSA2019-10, click here.
An opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the WHD on how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by the individual person or entity requesting the letter. If you have questions about this topic, please contact a KZA attorney.
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