What is Layover Pay in Trucking?

Reviewed by
Vedant Khamesra
Published date:
May 28, 2024

Navigating Layover Pay: 5 Essential Considerations for Fleet Managers

Understanding layover pay is crucial for fleet managers working in the fast-paced trucking industry, particularly those involved in managing long-haul fleets. This type of compensation goes beyond ensuring fairness—it's a strategic element of operations management. For those aiming to boost driver satisfaction and enhance operational efficiency, getting a grip on what layover pay is in trucking is essential. 

Proper management of this compensation can significantly smooth out logistical challenges, making operations more efficient and keeping drivers happy. In this guide, we will delve into what layover pay is, how it differs from detention pay, its impact on fleet operations, and effective strategies for managing it, providing a comprehensive overview of this essential component of trucking management.

Understanding Layover Pay

Layover pay compensates truck drivers for an unexpected delay between loads that is beyond their control. This form of compensation is vital not just for upholding morale and loyalty among drivers but also as a commitment to treating OTR drivers with fairness. Truly understanding layover pay in trucking involves appreciating the value of drivers' time and efforts, which are frequently unpredictable due to the industry's nature.

Recognizing the full scope of a truck driver's duties and compensating for layover time is an essential strategy for improving overall working conditions and safety in the trucking industry.

Comparing Layover vs Detention Pay

Transitioning from the broader concept of layover pay, it's important to distinguish it from detention pay, which addresses a related but distinct aspect of driver compensation and additional pay. While layover pay compensates for overnight delays typically due to scheduling issues or external factors, detention pay specifically covers the extra hours that drivers spend at shippers or receivers beyond their scheduled appointment times. This type of pay is crucial because it compensates drivers for the waiting time that often occurs when loading docks are backed up or paperwork is delayed.

According to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, compensating drivers for non-driving duties can significantly impact their work hours. The research suggests that drivers who are paid for non-driving labor are able to reach their target earnings in fewer hours, which not only reduces the tendency to work excessively long hours but also encourages compliance with working time regulations. This policy shift toward remunerating non-driving labor helps prevent driver fatigue and reduces the likelihood of accidents, thereby enhancing driver safety and health. 

Detention pay, like layover pay, is designed to respect the driver’s time and effort, ensuring they are compensated for delays that cut into their operational schedule. Effective management of both types of payments is critical for fleet managers to avoid operational inefficiencies and excessive costs. By clearly understanding and differentiating between layover and detention pay, fleet managers can better structure their operations and ensure that drivers are fairly compensated for all aspects of their job, thus maintaining morale and reducing turnover.

Impact of Layover Pay on Fleet Management Decisions

Layover pay can have a significant impact on how fleet managers handle budgeting and operational decisions. Similar to properly handling accessorial freight charges, managing this pay effectively is crucial for reducing unnecessary costs and maximizing operational efficiency—all of which play important roles when it comes to how to manage a fleet of trucks. Implementing strategies like accurate tracking of trucking company driver hours and maintaining transparent communication can help mitigate financial impacts and foster a positive work environment.

The National Transportation Institute reports that the prevalence of fleets offering layover pay has been stable at around 75% since 2015. However, the flat-rate amount paid for a layover has nearly doubled over the years. More notably, since the end of 2020, this flat-rate amount has increased by more than 20%, now approaching $100 per layover. This significant increase underscores the growing importance of layover pay in the context of overall driver pay and operational budgeting. Fleet managers need to consider these trends in their financial strategies to ensure they remain competitive and fair in their driver compensation plans.

Addressing the Challenges of Layover Pay & Effective Solutions for Fleet Managers

Managing trucking layover pay effectively presents several challenges for fleet managers, who must navigate intricate operational and compliance issues. To overcome these hurdles and promote smooth operations, several strategic solutions can be implemented:

Accurate Tracking of Downtime 

  • Implement GPS or Telematics Systems: Monitor vehicle status and driver activity to guarantee accurate layover tracking.
  • Use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): Automatically record driver hours to capture downtime accurately, qualifying for layover pay.

Ensuring Compliance with Labor Regulations

  • Stay Updated: Keep abreast of the latest Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and state-specific labor laws affecting layover pay.
  • Conduct Regular Training: Provide dispatchers and managers with ongoing education on legal requirements and company policies regarding layover pay.

Utilizing Advanced Software Solutions

  • Deploy Fleet Management Software: Use fleet tracking software that offers real-time data access and integrates seamlessly with existing systems.
  • Automate Layover Pay Calculations: Leverage trucking payroll software features that facilitate easy calculation and processing of layover pay, reducing the risk of errors and disputes.

Maintaining Transparency and Communication

  • Develop Clear Policies: Create accessible layover pay policies and communicate them effectively to all drivers and staff.
  • Provide Regular Updates: Offer accessible reports to drivers about their layover pay status and any policy changes.

Optimizing Operational Efficiency

  • Analyze Tracking Data: Use data from tracking systems to identify patterns and potential improvements in routing and scheduling.
  • Proactive Planning: Engage in planning to minimize delays and maximize the efficiency of load assignments.

These strategies not only help navigate the challenges associated with layover pay but also contribute to building a trustworthy and efficient operational framework. By ensuring fair compensation through precise tracking and robust systems, fleet managers can foster a positive work environment, maintain high levels of driver satisfaction, and improve overall fleet performance.

Strategic Management of Layover Pay: Partnering with AtoB for Enhanced Operations

Effectively managing layover pay is essential for fleet managers who want to optimize their operations and boost the satisfaction of company drivers. By adopting strategic insights and employing robust management systems, managers can navigate the complexities of layover compensation. Working with AtoB can further streamline this process by providing tools and insights that help address operational challenges and facilitate improvement and growth. In the dynamic trucking industry, where staying informed and adaptable is paramount, leveraging these resources can be a strategic advantage.


Kudo, T., & Belzer, M. H. (2019). “Safe rates and unpaid labour: Non-driving pay and truck driver work hours.” The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 30(4), 532-548. https://doi.org/10.1177/1035304619880406 

"Layover Pay and Driver Communication: What Should Your Fleet Be Paying?" DriverWages.com, https://driverwages.com/layover-pay-and-driver-communication-what-should-your-fleet-be-paying/

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Reviewed by

Vedant Khamesra

Vedant Khamesra is the driving force behind product management at AtoB. Specializing in strategic partnerships, SMB solutions, and new product development, Vedant seamlessly navigates P&L responsibilities while leading product execution and strategy. He is fueled by AtoB's mission to empower truckers and fleets with intelligent financial tools and services, making their lives easier and more rewarding.

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