Being a driver can feel like a thankless job — long hours, traffic, heavy lifting. You’re often delivering important packages to people who don’t realize the extent of your efforts.
But the biggest problem facing couriers and delivery drivers could be unrelated to the strain of your work. Drivers are susceptible to wage theft. We’ve found that oftentimes, those affected are drivers working for subcontractors who fulfill Amazon or FedEx orders. Those smaller courier companies, also known as independent service providers, or ISPs — as well as delivery companies in general — sometimes short their employees’ pay. Often, FedEx and Amazon aren’t liable for these pay disparities or even aware that they exist.
All the same, it doesn’t matter whom you work for; it matters how they pay you for your work.
How Drivers Experience Wage Theft
Wage theft can take many forms and present itself in a variety of ways, but for drivers, a day rate is often the culprit when they’re underpaid. When you receive a day rate, that means you’re paid a specific amount every day for working your shift. On paper, that sounds fair.
However, if your shift runs long — whether due to traffic, car troubles, or delivery issues — your day rate probably doesn’t include overtime pay for those extra hours. If employers don’t pay up, that’s money you earned and aren’t receiving.
Day rates account for your normal pay within your regular working hours — not the extra time you have to put in when your routine goes haywire. Don’t let employers underpay you.
What Can I Do?
Getting a day rate doesn’t necessarily mean you’re underpaid. Sometimes, however, employers use day rates because they know it’s an easy way to get out of paying employees their full wages. This is especially true for drivers, whose schedules are variable because of the nature of their work.
Specifically, drivers who work as independent contractors should be concerned. You might be owed overtime pay — which is 1.5 times your hourly rate — or should be paid hourly instead of by day.
Talk to other drivers and see if they’re facing similar concerns — if the problem is pervasive, organizing together could show employers you’re serious and effect greater change (although if you’re independent contractors, you won’t be able to unionize, and this is an issue that affects them especially). Additionally, you should consult a wage-and-hour attorney as you pursue a potential case.