If you are a driver for a privately owned truck, how do you make sure you get paid for down time?
For example, you take a load to Point A and while you are there, the truck breaks down and 8 days later you are fixed and back on the road.
Owner is not intending to pay you for your down time. They refuse to pay any expenses other than the cost of fixing the truck.
Is there something a guy can do about this?
Response from Vicki:
Thanks for asking about waiting or down time. We addressed this issue in part on the page we called Drivers Delayed and Detained at the Docks Should Be Paid for Waiting Time.
As best as I can tell, the differences between what we described and what you described are two:
1. You are driving a “privately owned truck” as opposed to driving a company-owned truck or being an owner-operator who owns his own truck but drives for a company; and
2. You are dealing with breakdown/repair waiting time as opposed to waiting in a dock to be loaded or unloaded.
I wonder based on what you wrote if your downtime occurred away from home (thus forcing you to pay for a motel/hotel and your meals the entire time). These might be the “expenses” you referred to.
In cases like this, many trucking companies generally don’t pay detention or waiting time pay but layover pay. Depending on your location, layover may not even cover the cost of accommodations, let alone food.
While situations vary among drivers, the first thing I suggest you do is to re-read every agreement you now have or have had with the owner of the truck to see if there is a clause or paragraph regarding down time. There may also be a “company policy” that is not covered in the agreement(s) you signed. If you have neither, you may have to just “bite” the down time (as painful as that is).
Although the situations are different, people sometimes have success in pressing for their health insurance provider to cover an expense after an initial rejection of coverage. As long as the expense is covered under the policy, persistence sometimes pays off.
You can appeal to your employer again. He/she may simply be looking at the bottom line in terms of expenses. (The truck was down for a certain period of time, no freight was picked up or delivered during that time, utilization was down and compensating the driver is the least of his/her worries.) Of course, your paycheck was probably down, too. Plus you had extra expenses that you wouldn’t have had if you’d been rolling.
I would ask him/her (based on “The Golden Rule”) what he/she would have liked to have happen if your roles were reversed. If this shocks him/her into action, be prepared for perhaps only a partial payment (which may be only a small percentage of your real expenses). It will be up to you as to whether or not you accept a little as opposed to perhaps nothing at all.
If you have no formal arrangement (a written agreement) with your employer regarding covering reasonable costs during a breakdown away from home and a second appeal does not work, depending on your situation and your relationship with your employer, you may choose to contact a trucker’s advocacy group or your legal services plan provider for help. It is amazing what a well-written letter sent by a law firm can do in a client’s behalf.
If you find the situation intolerable (or the “tip of the iceberg” regarding what continuing to drive for this employer might mean), you may need to start looking for work with another trucking company.
If nothing else, make sure you keep all of your receipts so that you can make a proper documentation about them on next year’s taxes.
I hope this has been helpful and that you’ll be able to peacefully resolve this matter. When you have resolution, please write back to let us know what happened.
On behalf of Mike and me, we wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.