Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.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 Two Wage and Hour Opinion Letters
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced two 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:
- FLSA2020-17: Addressing whether the regular rate of pay of an employee who is paid on a piece-rate basis may be calculated by dividing total earnings by the number of productive and nonproductive hours worked during the workweek in the absence of a specific agreement with the employee to use such calculation.
- FLSA2020-18: Addressing whether insect farming qualifies as “agriculture” under Section 3(f) of the FLSA and whether certain workers employed by an insect farming operation may be exempt from overtime pay requirements under Section 13(b)(12).
“The opinion letters issued today demonstrate the Wage and Hour Division’s commitment to providing clear guidance and compliance assistance to workers and employers,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “As the economy continues to recover, it may be more important than ever that we provide clarity to ensure workers are paid all the wages they have legally earned, and that employers compete on a level playing field.”
Those interested can search the Department’s website for existing opinion letters by keyword, year, topic, and other filters. 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.
With today’s release, the Wage and Hour Division has now issued 69 opinion letters since Jan. 20, 2017.
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 paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, 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.