Different contributor here. Please permit me to assist. You asked:
I drive across country with a partner and we're required to rest 10 hours before driving again. I read somewhere that when I drive across state lines, things like overtime don't apply to my rate of pay.
A: Interstate commerce transport is controlled by U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, not California law. California overtime law does not apply to you if you routinely transport your loads across state lines -- because you are engaged in interstate commerce.
I guess my question is, does the clock start ticking the minute I get onto the truck? Even if I don't start driving? During those nonproductive times and rest periods, am I supposed to be paid the highest minimum wage?
A: No. Regrettably, a "long-haul" trucker is entitled to a 30-minute, off-duty, unpaid, rest break every 8 hours. No overtime pay or rest break pay is required (though, you can certainly try to negotiate with your employer).
Or is there a lesser wage for non-productive times? Will my employer be able to lower my per piece rate (mileage rate) to compensate for the increased wage he needs to pay for my nonproductive times? Will I still be able to receive a per diem rate, or does this take the place of that?
A: You are trying to imply California labor law into the interstate commerce regulations. California law is preempted, so we can't use it to determine your rights.
I can provide you with a comprehensive guide to your rights as an interstate truck driver, if that would be helpful. Please let me know.
Note: The law is quite complex, so it's difficult to give you a definitive answer. The general answer is that if your truck isn't moving, then you're not entitled to be paid (unless you negotiate a contract where the employer agrees to rules different from those required by federal DOT regulations).
I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.
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