In what likely signals the end of the era of “Administrator’s Interpretations,” the DOL announced today that it will return to the practice of issuing opinion letters to provide guidance to employers and employees on Fair Labor Standards Act matters. DOL stopped issuing opinion letters in 2010, in favor of issuing broad guidance in the form of Administrator’s Interpretations–two of which were officially withdrawn by the DOL earlier this month.
As Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta explained, “Reinstating opinion letters will benefit employees and employers as they provide a means by which both can develop a clearer understanding of the [FLSA] and other statutes … [DOL] is committed to helping employers and employees clearly understand their labor responsibilities so employers can concentrate on doing what they do best: growing their businesses and creating jobs.”
The shift will be a welcome one for employers and business owners, who have been hoping for a more conciliatory, and less punitive, enforcement environment as well as more clarification of the many complex rules around wages and hours.
DOL has established a webpage where the public can review existing DOL guidance and submit requests for new opinion letters.