Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
U.S. Department of Labor Issues Five New Wage and Hour Opinion Letters
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced five new opinion letters that address compliance issues related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). An opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) on how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by the person or entity that requested the letter.
The opinion letters issued today are:
- FLSA2020-6: Addresses whether salespeople who travel to different locations to sell products using their employer’s mobile assets qualify for the outside sales exemption under FLSA section 13(a)(1);
- FLSA2020-7: Addresses whether an automobile manufacturer’s direct payments to an automobile dealership’s employee, compensating the employee for work done on behalf of the dealership, may count toward the dealership’s minimum wage obligation to the employee under the FLSA;
- FLSA2020-8: Addresses whether salespeople who set up displays and perform demonstrations at various retail locations not owned, operated, or controlled by their employer to sell the employer’s products qualify for the outside sales employee exemption under Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA;
- FLSA2020-9: Addresses whether emergency-management coordinators employed by a county government qualify for administrative exemptions under Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA; and
- FLSA2020-10: Addresses the application of the retail or service commission sales exemption under Section 7(i) of the FLSA, where more than half of an employee’s compensation in the relevant representative period ultimately does not consist of commissions.
“With today’s release, the Wage and Hour Division has now issued 61 opinion letters since January 20, 2017,” said Deputy Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella. “These letters demonstrate the Department of Labor’s continued commitment to its ongoing mission, while also remaining focused on igniting the engines of our national economic recovery.”
The public can search for existing opinion letters by keyword, year, topic, and a variety of other filters on the Department’s website. The Department also encourages the public to submit requests for opinion letters to WHD to obtain an opinion or to determine whether existing guidance already addresses their questions. The Division exercises its discretion in determining whether and how it will respond to each request.
“The opinion letters published today provide needed clarity on payroll requirements important to both workers and employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “Several address specific situations in which employers are not required to pay workers at least the federal minimum wage or overtime. Another clarifies when third-party payment constitutes wages. In all cases, these letters demonstrate our commitment to increasing compliance by continuing to increase the clarity and simplicity of our guidance, and to ensuring that employers have the information they need to understand their responsibilities and comply with the law.”
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the FLSA. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the FMLA, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.