Certain truck drivers are exempt from California Overtime and/or Overtime under the FLSA.

This exemption applies to:
Certain Truck Drivers except those under IWC Wage Orders 11, 12, 15 and 16.

Type of employee:
Truck drivers and assistants.

What are they exempt from:

There are several factors that must be considered in determining whether or not a truck driver is exempt from overtime, such as 1) the route the trucker is driving; 2) the goods the trucker is transporting; 3) where the good come from and 4) the weight and length of the truck.

In addition, the employee must determine if he or she is exempt from both Federal Law and California Law.

Federal Law

Employers typically argue that they are not required to pay their truck drivers overtime compensation because the truck driver is exempt under the Motor Carrier Exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

In order for a truck driver to be exempt from federal overtime, which is time and half for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek (i.e. Federal law does not have a daily overtime requirement), the employer has the burden of proof and must show the following:

Element Number 1
The drivers must fall under the authority of the United States Department of Transportation (“DOT”).
Element Number 2
The driver must be engaged in interstate commerce or reasonably have expected to make interstate runs.
If a driver transports goods over state borders, he or she is involved in interstate commerce and exempt from overtime under FLSA.
If a driver carries goods that have crossed or will cross state lines, the entire shipment will likely be considered “interstate” and the driver will not be entitled to overtime under FLSA.
If a driver transports goods only within the State of California, the driver may be entitled to overtime under FLSA. However, under federal law, there are no provisions for overtime after eight hours in a day or double time for more than twelve hours in a day. Rather, federal law only allows for overtime after forty hours of work in the work week.
A driver is not subject to the Motor Carrier Safety Act if there is no possibility of driving interstate or the possibility is remote.
The exemption applies on an employee-by-employee basis, not an employer in its entirety.
If the goods cross state lines, the indefinite storage in a warehouse for future delivery to customers yet to be identified may transport goods shipped from out-of-state into intrastate deliveries and thus, cause the driver to be entitled to overtime.
If the goods that cross state lines are then processed intrastate, the chain of interstate commerce can be broken.

California Law

California law applies to drivers whose activities are governed by the DOT or the State of California regulations. The following are the six (6) types of drivers that are not entitled to overtime under California law:

  • Employees who drive a truck that has a gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more are exempt from overtime under California law.
  • Employees who drive a truck that has a gross weight rating of 10,000-26,000 pounds are exempt from overtime under California law if the driver is engaged in interstate commerce.
  • Employees who drive a farm labor vehicle or are transporting hazardous waste are exempt from overtime under California law.
  • Employees who drive a truck that tows a trailer so that the combined length is more than 40 feet are exempt from overtime under California law.
  • Employees who drive a truck that is regulated by the California Public Utility Commission (PUC) are exempt from overtime under California law.
  • Employees who drive a truck that tows a regulated trailer with a total gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, are exempt from overtime under California law.
Even if the employee is properly classified as exempt, the employee is still entitled to lawful meal and rest breaks under California law.
What is The Labor Commissioner’s Opinion


DLSE Opinion. Letter No.

Hours worked: Overtime, truck drivers adding covered to uncovered hours


Meal Periods: Fuel Carriers Subject to Federal Safety Regulations


Overtime: Airport shuttle drivers


Overtime: Limousine drivers [Not exempt from overtime]


Overtime: Provisions of IWC wage order. for two-axle trucks not regulated by Department of Transportation


Overtime exemption: “For hire” motor trucks


Truck Driver/Transportation Industry


Overtime: Combining covered and uncovered hours