Bill introduced to remove truckers' overtime exemption

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A Michigan congressman thinks truck drivers ought to receive overtime pay.

Rep. Andy Levin recently introduced a bill called Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act, which would undo truckers' exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act. That exemption dates back to the 1930s and was originally enacted as a safety issue to keep drivers from working too many hours.

Levin's bill has several Democratic cosponsors. Jefferson Van Drew of New Jersey is the only Republican to add his name to the proposed legislation.

Removal of the exemption was included as a suggested action for the Department of Transportation in its Supply Chain Assessment of the Transportation Industrial Base, itself based largely on stakeholder input taken amid disruptions that exposed vulnerabilities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the document noted as an action item a policy recommendation for the DOT to "urge Congress to eliminate the Fair Labor Standards Act motor carrier exemption. Under the current exemption, employers are not required to pay overtime to many truck drivers."

“Truck drivers across the country face brutal working conditions marked by inadequate pay and long hours," said a statement from Levin when announcing the bill. "Despite their tireless work, truck drivers do not receive overtime pay for overtime hours. As a result, the trucking industry faces an extremely high turnover rate as truckers cannot keep up with the thankless demands of their work. We all stand to benefit when truckers are paid what they’re owed.”

For Legin's bill to become law, it will have to be approved by the House and a similar bill be approved by the Senate. It would then go to the President for his signature.

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