Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Four Wage and Hour Opinion Letters

WASHINGTON, DC The U.S. Department of Labor today announced four 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:

  • FLSA2021-6: Addressing whether staffing firms that recruit, hire and place employees on assignments with clients may qualify as “retail or service establishments” for purposes of the Section 7(i) exemption from the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements;
  • FLSA2021-7: Addressing whether certain local small-town and community news source journalists are creative professionals under Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA;
  • FLSA2021-8: Addressing whether certain distributors of a manufacturer’s food products are employees or independent contractors under the FLSA; and
  • FLSA2021-9: Addressing whether requiring tractor-trailer truck drivers to implement safety measures required by law constitutes control by the motor carrier for purposes of their status as employees or independent contractors under the FLSA and whether certain owner-operators are classified properly as independent contractors.

“The Wage and Hour Division remains committed to providing clear guidance and compliance assistance to workers and employers,” said Wage and Hour Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “Moreover, publishing additional guidance on independent contractor status under the FLSA augments the Department’s recently finalized rule, providing further clarity for the American workforce.”

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 80 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 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.

Wage and Hour Division
January 19, 2021
Release Number
Media Contact: Eric Holland
Phone Number
Media Contact: Denisha Braxton
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