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Transportation Brief: Ninth Circuit Addresses Piece-rate Pay Plans

by James H. Hanson, E. Ashley Paynter

August 25, 2021

Plaintiffs’ lawyers have long argued that under California law, drivers paid with a mileage-based compensation formula are not compensated for their non-driving activities, such as time spent conducting pre-trip and post-trip inspections, fueling, waiting at company terminals, waiting at customer locations, and completing paper work associated with a load. As a result, plaintiffs’ lawyers contend that employers must compensate drivers for performing those tasks separately from the pay they receive from their mileage-based compensation formula.

Notwithstanding such arguments, in Ayala v. U.S. Xpress, Inc., the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that a properly drafted piece-rate compensation pay plan that pays for delivered loads can cover both the time spent driving as well as the time spent performing non-driving activities associated with delivering the loads.

It is important to have a written compensation pay plan to address how drivers earn their activity-based pay.


Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.

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