By Mike Murphy, The Washington PostFood writer.
Read more>>The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced Wednesday that it will expand the definition of the term “truck driver” to include anyone who works in the trucking industry.
It’s an effort to make the definition more inclusive, said spokesman John B. Hinkle.
The Department of Transportation’s Wage Division defines a “trucker” as anyone who drives a truck.
Hinkle said the expanded definition is designed to ensure the government has the tools to enforce compliance with the minimum wage and overtime laws.
The change follows the Labor Department’s decision in August to expand the definitions of “troublemaker” and “felon” to cover anyone who is convicted of a crime related to a job, whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony.
Hole in trucking rulesU.
S.-based trucking companies are still not allowed to provide food, transportation, entertainment or any other benefits to their drivers unless they work for them.
In October, the Labor Secretary’s Office issued guidance on the definition and requirements of a “worker” for federal contractors.
The guidance requires that the “employer” must be a “person or entity,” not an “organization.”
The department’s definition of a person or entity is defined as:The definition is not set in stone.
It will likely change as the agency and trucking industries work to improve the standard.
The new definition is more comprehensive, and it requires employers to provide the same benefits to truck drivers, said David G. Hartzog, a professor of labor economics at the University of Virginia.
The definition of “driver” is also not set.
However, in a 2016 ruling, a federal judge ruled that “employers must provide drivers with at least $2.13 an hour and at least a $25.95 per week minimum wage.”
Hartzog said the definition is an important step, but he is skeptical of the ability of trucking employers to ensure that their drivers receive the same level of support and benefits as other workers.