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Q&A: Answering Your Top FLSA and ELD Concerns

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Phrases such as “every second counts” and “time is money” are commonplace in business today. But out of all the trades and sectors in the world, the trucking industry could argue that these hold the most significance to them. From the hours drivers spend on the road, to the dispatchers at headquarters tracking trucks, a single minute can be the difference between compliance and violation, safety and risk.

Updates to several nationwide regulations have put the spotlight on how a fleet utilizes its time, including the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate in 2017.

With a majority of workers on hourly pay, fleet companies have a great deal at stake when it comes to monitoring time and performance.

That’s why Chris Spear, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations (ATA), spoke up when the overtime rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) was stalled just days before it was set to be enacted on December 1. As part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the revised law would have doubled the salary threshold for exempt employees from $23,660 to $47,476.

“In the trucking industry, the rule change would have affected countless salaried dispatchers and other managers who need the flexibility to work as the need arises, in response to unpredictable operational demands. At the same time, it would have forced the carriers they work for to begin micromanaging their time,” said Spear.

While the injunction is a small win for the transportation industry, this is not the last we’ll hear of limiting hours or scaling pay. Here is some insight into what these regulations mean and suggested next steps for fleet operators to ensure compliance:

     Q. Who from the trucking and fleet industry is directly affected by the DOL’s ‘white collar’ exemption?

The regulation directly impacts administrative or back-office employees, such as dispatchers and clerks. This rule is also known as the “EAP exemption” – referring to the three categories of employees, whose core functions are executive, administrative and professional in nature.

  1. What should employers do to prepare for compliance with proposed ELD and FSLA laws?

Fleet companies can kill two birds with one stone, thanks to the ELD’s required GPS fleet tracking software connection. The software provides companies with the exact number of hours, minutes and seconds a driver has worked. It lets fleet managers make instant decisions to clamp down on hours for the week, or alert a driver who is running close to a time violation, reducing their own time spent working, as well.

  1. What do employers need to do while the FLSA rule is stalled?

If you have not done so already, now is the time to:

  • Conduct an audit of your exempt employees’ statuses to identify any instances where the lines of eligibility may not be clear.
  • Review and update job descriptions based on these results. In some situations, it may make sense to switch a salaried employee to non-exempt status.
  • Assess the amount of hours worked by exempt employees, who earn less than the required amount, to determine the potential financial implications of keeping them as exempt, or changing to non-exempt status.
  1. What questions should an employer ask when preparing for compliance?

  • What are the daily financial and operational effects of the new guidelines?
  • Should the hours or structure of pay be updated for employees?
  • What processes or technologies are in place to assess time?
  • Are driver hours contributing to inefficient vehicle use and longer routes?

 

For more information on the changing regulatory landscape, visit http://www.teletracnavman.com/our-solutions/compliance.


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