In 2018, the FMCSA determined that federal regulations governing meal and rest breaks (“MRB”) for commercial drivers preempt California’s stricter MRB laws, which require employers to provide a 30-minute break for every five hours of work and a 10-minute rest break for every four-hour work period. FMCSA regulations allow drivers more flexibility to decide when to take these breaks. We previously wrote about the FMCSA’s decision here.
On November 13, 2023, the California Attorney General (“AG”) and the California Labor Commission filed a petition with the FMCSA requesting a waiver to allow California’s MRB regulations to apply to California commercial drivers. The AG’s petition argues that California MRB regulations provide better safety protection for drivers and the general public. It also argues California’s regulations would not significantly impact interstate commerce.
If the FMCSA grants the AG’s petition, California will likely see an increase in wage-and-hour lawsuits against employers by drivers alleging MRB violations. The FMSCA is expected to issue a decision in the upcoming year.
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