Lack Of Overtime Pay Leads To A Trucker Shortage
With poor payoffs, the problem of a workers` shortage will always exist. The same applies to the transportation industry.
In the past few years, keeping drivers is becoming an increasingly serious problem. Under American working hour’s regulations, truckers can drive 70 hours over eight days. In addition to these hours, they have documents, maintenance, refueling and other work activities after working hours.
Yet despite these long and hard hours in the cab of a small truck, away from home and family, the company’s drivers are earning paltry money.
According to ZipRecruiter as in May 2021, the average annual salary for a truck driver in the United States is $ 50909 per year. That’s roughly $ 24,48 per hour. But this math is just as flawed as the exception. The $ 50909 figure assumes only 2079 hours per year, which is a normal 52-week year with 40 hours per week.
When a driver works 70 hours in eight days (assuming two weeks of vacation), that driver actually works 3071 hours, which brings his hourly pay down to $ 16,58 – just above the minimum wage in many states.
If there really was a shortage of drivers of 80000 people, as economists claim, supply and demand theory would dictate that truckers’ wages should increase.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a law that guarantees overtime pay for workers, but the same law has an exception for trucking companies that states that “for an employee for whom transport safety has the right to establish qualifications and maximum hours” payment of overtime work is not guaranteed.
An easy, simple, economically viable and socially fair solution is to remove the FLSA overtime exemption. Using the example above, a driver from the same company who worked 3071 hours a year would have raised his income to $ 87320, much more in line with the hours worked and living conditions.
Remarkably the fleets that complain about the lack of truckers are the same companies that asked for the cancellation of overtime pay. They referred to difficulties in paying drivers due to road accidents, shippers` delays, truck breakdowns, etc.
This is why many fleets have to deal with the drivers` shortage that they`ve created.