The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has stated that hourly oilfield workers and the gas industry are entitled to more than just per diem and truck pay. The agency says these workers are entitled to overtime pay and other benefits mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
This is good news for hourly oilfield workers, who have long been subjected to grueling work schedules with little compensation. The agency’s ruling will provide these workers with much-needed relief and ensure that they are fairly compensated for their work.
If you are an hourly oilfield worker, you should familiarize yourself with the agency’s ruling and how it will impact your compensation.
The Fair Labor Standards Act on Per Diem and Truck Pay for Oilfield Workers
In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act was approved by Congress, establishing a 40-hour work week and a requirement for overtime pay. This rate of 1.5 times the usual amount of compensation for one hour of work must be applied to every hour beyond 40 that an employee works unless they meet specific requirements.
Unfortunately, many companies cut corners and deny workers the overtime they are rightfully owed by miscalculating their overtime rate or denying them overtime altogether. This happens to Hourly Oilfield Workers regularly.
Compensation may conflict with Federal requirements for many imperative oil and gas industry employees, such as truckers, foremen, engineers, and other workers who must travel frequently. Per diem pay is a specific daily allowance for employees to compensate them for expenditures such as food and lodging. This saves companies the hassle of itemized expense records from every worker.
Typically, per diem pay is expected for any trip that leads to an overnight stay, although no specific mileage is needed to justify this allowance. The General Services Administration has published a guide that companies frequently use to determine rates for cities across the U.S., and these rates can vary widely depending on the region.
Some Hourly Oilfield Worker jobs that frequently require travel and per diem compensation include:
- Account manager
- Drilling consultant
- Field Service Engineer
- Network Engineer
- Project Managers
- Safety Engineer
- Senior field technician
- Well control specialist
Some workers may also be paid per mile driven on a route or for traveling to a site. While it is not illegal to compensate employees in this way to cover gas for the road, wear and tear on the vehicle, and other transportation expenses, the totals of these payments must still total up to minimum wage. If drivers spend more than 40 hours a week working, they must also be paid overtime for those extra hours.
Even when workers are compensated for overtime, they may still need to receive the due amount. Overtime is calculated at 1.5 times the “regular rate” of pay. This specific term refers to the total rate paid to an employee for their work, including per diem, truck pay, and other compensation.
For instance, if a mechanic lives in Texas and travels between a site in South Texas and a drill site in Alabama each week, the worker may receive an hourly rate of pay, per diem pay for his hotel stay in Alabama, and mileage compensation for his gas. If he works more than 40 hours a week, however, overtime calculations must include the regular pay he receives beyond his hourly rate.
Lawyers for Hourly Oilfield Workers
If your employer has been paying you overtime based only on your regular hourly rate or you have been denied overtime pay, you may have grounds to seek back wages that you deserve.
The employment law attorneys of Josephson Dunlap LLP can confidently help you hold your employer accountable for what you are owed under federal law.
Ultimately, hourly oilfield workers are entitled to more than just per diem and truck pay. It’s essential to know your rights as an employee and how to assert them on the job site. Discourteous companies need to be implemented so that future employees don’t face the same issues you’ve had to deal with. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact us.