When is a company required to supply breakdown pay

Discussion in 'Trucking Industry Regulations' started by occupant, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. occupant

    occupant Bobtail Member

    Feb 24, 2009
    SE Hill County, TX
    My other thread got derailed and thankfully I have a question on a different subject and can start over. I made Flagstaff and Tucumcari fine. On the way across New Mexico, the truck developed a squeal above 2700rpm (60mph). When I stopped for the night after keeping my speed below 60mph for that last hundred miles of the day, I determined that the alternator was not lined up with the other pulleys. The brackets were bent and something was very wrong, with the pulley of the alternator 15-20 degrees crooked versus the AC compressor and idler pulleys.

    The following morning I called the fleet company and they told me to try two shops in town, neither of which could so anything about it. I was told to drive to Amarillo, which I did at speeds that kept getting lower and lower. Had to turn the AC off. Had to limit throttle applications. Got down to 55...50...45mph to keep the belt quiet. The alternator on this truck also drives the vacuum pump so it's always pulling a load. Made it to a Mack dealer on the east side of Amarillo and they got to work. Determined the alternator case was damaged in addition to the upper bracket. They couldn't get the parts in for two days. I booked a hotel and sat around for two days twiddling my thumbs.

    Wednesday comes and they ordered the WRONG part. So one more night and I could be back on the road. Thumb twiddling commences once again.

    Thursday afternoon I go to pick up the truck, and the alternator is STILL at a funny angle. They look at it and decide, "oh yeah, that lower bracket is bent too, we thought it would be okay but I guess it really isn't". Another night in town.

    By the time I picked up the truck Friday afternoon I spent a total of 96 hours out of service. Three full days and one half day if you go by calendar days versus hours I was able to drive Monday and Friday.

    Every other company *I* know of pays breakdown pay. I get a doughnut. Nothing. When I'm driving or on duty, I get paid by the hour. No miles. But if the truck breaks down, I get NOTHING. Not even an 8 hour shift at minwage (currently $7.25/hr, $58/day).

    Since I am not actually HAULING anything, am I still entitled by any laws to breakdown pay for the four days I had to sit around and wait on a company truck to get fixed? Or am I out of luck because I don't get paid by the mile or haul actual freight?
  2. doubledragon5

    doubledragon5 Road Train Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Lewisville TX
    Break down policies are determined by your company. Most good companies will pay, while some won't period. My job for instance if I'm broke down, and at the yard, or out on the road, I get paid for every hr the truck in down for that day.. If it is down the next day, I have to find another truck in the yard to use for the day..
  3. GasHauler

    GasHauler Master FMCSA Interpreter

    Oct 23, 2005
    Years ago I worked for an LTL company that didn't pay the first hour you were down. It was a real cheap company and I knew I was leaving for a great job when I broke down about 20 miles from the terminal. So I took a nap for 1 hour. Then I came up on the company radio and of course they wanted to trouble shoot the problem over the radio and I finally told them to send a tow truck and I turned off the radio. They were very pi**ed because I waited an hour. I told them them you don't pay I don't work. But you can't do that if you expect to stay employed at that company.

    You really have to look into the labor laws to know for sure if you can be paid. But I'm sure your company has done that and they know they can get away with not paying you. But you never know. What you have to ask yourself is if it's really worth all the trouble? Is the company the type that if you force them into something they don't like will they hold back loads on you?
  4. Kabar

    Kabar Road Train Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    Pell City Al
    Unless you have a contract they don't have to pay you a thing for anything. What dose it say in there company rule book? The law says you don't have to work there if you don't like it and they don't have to pay you for extras like break downs.
    tscottme Thanks this.
  5. Nighthawk34

    Nighthawk34 Light Load Member

    May 3, 2009
    Salem, OR
    All I can say is if going to comfront an employer about payroll issues is to make sure you have a back up plan... I was a parts "manager" at a Nissan dealership with only 1 other employee and they tried to say that I was exempt from being paid overtime since I was working 10hrs a day 6 days a week I looked into CA payroll law and found all the information to prove to them that I was not exempt. When I brought this to their attention they fidgeted a little then the following week they paid me all of the back pay they owed me along with my current check along with my acured vac.pay and politely told me they are no longer in needs of my services... They promoted the counterman to manager after that (he had about 1 month parts experience and no clue how to do any of the ordering or anything else that I had been doing LOL)...

    Just my .02 worth of heads up on pointing out payroll issues to employers !
  6. occupant

    occupant Bobtail Member

    Feb 24, 2009
    SE Hill County, TX
    Okay, wide variety of responses. I'm being paid hourly when I am actually driving or doing something company related, but sitting in a hotel room while the truck is down for four days, there wasn't a labor code to relate to that in the handbook. I guess I'm just screwed as far as that goes. They did offer to find me another week's worth of work but it also would be for a different ad campaign and might be halfway across the country. I don't know. Money is ok, but those 4 days were miserable with no money and eating bread and pb and drinking ice water. My wife did send me money to order a pizza the first night and put some money on my debit card so I could buy a bike and some other foods. But I don't want her to suffer at home because I got stuck somewhere, it's not fair to her.
  7. Pur48Ted

    Pur48Ted Road Train Member

    Jun 14, 2006
    Grand Rapids, MI
    short answer: never
  8. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    It looks like the original poster got his question answered. In most cases, trucking companies are NOT legally required to pay a company driver "break down pay."

    Trucking companies aren't usually required to pay for many things that plenty of drivers, expecially the ones on the CB swear up and down are required. Here are some of the things trucking companies are not required to pay:

    Detention pay. If it takes 15 hours to get loaded and you are paid by the mile, you make zero. Some trucking companies choose to pay detention pay. They don't have to do it. They do it as a courtesy or to keep drivers happy or to punish slow shippers. It's voluntary.

    Breakdown pay. Trucking companies can choose to pay you when the truck/equipment breaks down, but they don't have to. There is no law.

    Health insurance premiums. There is no law, yet, requiring your employer to pay one cent toward your health insurance. Once again, if they do pay for this it's a courtesy and not required.

    Plane/bus ticket back home. If you quit or you are fired while away from home I've not seen anything that requires the trucking company to buy you a ticket home. You might want to set aside some money or credit card balance to buy a ticket if needed.

    What else can you think of, or have heard being declared manadatory on the CB, that trucking companies are REQUIRED to pay?

    My general rule for the CB is "if I heard it on the CB it's not only probably wrong. It's probably so wrong that I shouldn't even waste time to find out how wrong it might be."
  9. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    Here is an addition to my list.

    Trucking companies are not required to pay overtime for work after hours per day or 40 hours per week. The Fair Labor Standards Act, which is the law that provides the overtime pay requirement for most employees, specifically exempts "transportation workers" from the overtime pay requirement.

    I've heard the tale, and maybe it's true, that drivers are still entitled to minimum wage for the hours they work. If this is true, and I have my doubts but it could be true, the driver would rely on his official record of duty status (log book), another good reason to to routinely fake your log book. However, if you get into a dispute with your company about whether or not you are making minimum wage, I'd suspect you have overstayed your welcome and should move on anyway.

    Hotel rooms. There are few if any circumstances when the trucking company will be required to pay for a hotel room for the driver, especially if the company provides a truck with a sleeper. If the company wants to pay for a hotel room in certain circumstances it is almost always a courtesy to the driver, not legally required.

    I'd like to here some of the other things anyone can think of.
  10. Curiosity

    Curiosity Bobtail Member

    Jul 5, 2009
    Now, different scenario, hypothetical and all. Guy works for an advertising company and drives their truck long distance to get into a particular market hundreds of miles from home. He is not hauling anything, just doing the whole mobile advertising thing. So, here's the deal. They get him all the way out to timbuktu and the truck breaks down for 3 days. Being as he is stuck far from home, unable to just go out and get another job or do anything productive because their last improper maintenance on the truck led to the problems at hand, why would he not get something?

    Still hypothetically speaking, he is an hourly employee, NOT an independent contractor. He is stuck at the hotel 400 miles from home and is basically stranded with no way to get around. Would you not think they should have to pay something as, due to no fault of his own, he is stuck waiting for their truck at a location they chose? Let's just assume this is not covered in the training book and he's been told that, no, he won't get anything, not even onduty/not driving pay. He was waiting on the truck to be fixed for them and was ready and waiting and following up the entire time so wouldn't it make sense for him to get at least minimum wage?

    Would like to hear everyone's opinions on this. What would you do?

    As an added note, this is an advertising company, NOT a trucking company. It just happens that part of their lineup is hiring drivers to drive trucks with pretty pictures on them.
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