On June 27, 2017 the U.S. Department of Labor DOL announced that it will reinstate the issuance of opinion letters. For more than 70 years the DOL provided employers with guidance through opinion letters. However this practice was stopped under President Obama in 2010. U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta explained that by returning to issuing opinion letters, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division is again able to provide guidance to covered employers.
An opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the Wage and Hour Division of how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by an employer, employee or other entity requesting the opinion.
“Reinstating opinion letters will benefit employees and employers as they provide a means by which both can develop a clearer understanding of the Fair Labor Standards Act and other statutes,” said Secretary Acosta. “The U.S. Department of Labor 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 division has established a webpage where the public can see if existing agency guidance already addresses their questions or submit a request for an opinion letter. The webpage explains what to include in the request, where to submit the request, and where to review existing guidance. The division will exercise discretion in determining which requests for opinion letters will be responded to, and the appropriate form of guidance to be issued.
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DOL opinion letters are back!