California: FMCSA Preempts State Meal and Rest Requirements, But Don’t Jump on the Bandwagon Yet!


Employers of CA Passenger-Carrying Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers


January 13, 2020


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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently granted a petition from the American Bus Association (ABA), stating that California’s meal and rest period rules are preempted by federal law, which governs passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers’ hours of service requirements. Specifically, in contrast with prior challenges, the FMCSA said that state meal and rest period requirements are laws on commercial motor vehicle safety, which is regulated by federal law. Moreover, the meal and rest period rules have no safety benefit, are incompatible with federal regulations, and cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.

While this may seem like a done deal, employers must still be cautious of enforcement of meal and rest period requirements in California. It is unclear if California will challenge FMCSA’s ruling, or what its next steps will be. Employers are strongly urged to consult with legal counsel before taking any steps that would violate state wage and hour laws. Continue to look for updates on this topic.

Action Items

  1. Review the FMSCA opinion with legal counsel.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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