Unpaid Time

by | May 30, 2019

Drivers are usually paid based on miles driven in any given day. Some are paid waiting time, unloading time, and even break down time. However, there are a lot of duties carried out from day to day by drivers that there is no compensation for. These things may take a few minutes to a few hours depending on what is happening.

I have heard time and time again, “They aren’t paying me, I’m not doing it.” The unfortunate thing is that a lot of the time the drivers are away from home and are expected to do these tasks. It has become the industry norm.

Truckers try to find the most efficient ways to organize their work tasks in order to increase their pay. For the driver, this means increasing the miles they drive. Unfortunately, for many drivers, much of their workday is spent doing work other than driving paid miles. In fact, on many days a long-haul trucker will spend a majority of thier “work time” performing tasks other than driving paid miles.

These are some of the tasks that drivers may do that they may not be paid for:

  • Waiting to be assigned a load
  • Waiting for information or the paperwork required to complete an assigned load
  • Attending a truck and trailer to ensure security of load and truck
  • Waiting to enter a dock or facility
  • Communicating with the shipper and consignees’ employees
  • Qualcomm and/or phone communications with carrier (e.g. driver manager)
  • Logging hours of service (on paper or e-logs)
  • Unloading or assisting in the unloading of a trailer (e.g. counting freight)
  • Attending while a truck is loaded or unloaded
  • Hiring and managing labor to unload a trailer
  • Cleaning a trailer interior (sweeping or washing)
  • Preparing trailers for loading (e.g. pre-cooling a refrigerated trailer)
  • Loading or unloading empty pallets, racks or other equipment
  • Scaling loads
  • Placarding loads containing hazardous materials
  • Travel route planning
  • Work schedule planning
  • Finding adequate parking
  • Mandatory pre-trip inspections of truck and trailer
  • Less frequent inspections of tractor and trailer in the course of workday
  • Post-trip inspections
  • Fueling the truck, checking engine oil, washing windows and mirrors
  • Monitoring and securing of freight and trailer conditions (e.g. checking trailer temperature)
  • Making minor repairs to the truck (e.g. blown lights)
  • Taking the truck in for repairs and maintenance and waiting (e.g. new tires, oil changes, etc.)
  • Filling out reimbursement paperwork
  • Washing, cleaning and organizing their tractor
  • Restocking supplies
  • Record keeping

Now this is quite a list of unpaid tasks. One might think that drivers must be working for free at times with a list like this. Of course, every company compensates their employees in different ways. Some pay for this and some don’t. Some pay for that and the other doesn’t. It’s quite a game just trying to figure it out. Make a list of your unpaid time and see how much its costing you, and if you feel that you’re not getting value, contact me and turn your time into dollars.

At the end of the day, it’s up to the driver to understand that when trading time for money, there is a price to be paid. This comes down to how much you value yourself and your time.

Until next time… If you would like to book an appointment to discuss your unpaid time and how it affects you in your life, contact me at danagsmithconsulting@gmail.com.

Dana G Smith, CSIC

Dana G Smith, CSIC

Dana G Smith CC is a Certified Professional Development Coach/Consultant and co-creator of The Mindful Trucker, helping companies and professional drivers have more connection, communication, and overall job satisfaction.

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