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Wage and Hour Division

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Joint Employment Under the FLSA and MSPA

Vertical Joint Employment

Joint employment exists when a person is employed by two or more employers such that the employers are responsible, both individually and jointly, for compliance with a statute.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (1983) share the same definition of employment. This definition, which includes “to suffer or permit to work,” was written to have as broad an application as possible. Under these laws, it is possible for a worker to be jointly employed by two or more employers who are both responsible, simultaneously, for compliance. It is a longstanding principle under both the FLSA and MSPA that an employee can have two or more employers for the work that he or she is performing.

On January 20, 2016, the Wage and Hour Division released an Administrator’s Interpretation concerning joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. The interpretation identifies common scenarios in which two or more employers jointly employ an employee and are thus jointly liable for compliance. It pulls together all the relevant authorities – statutory provisions, regulations, and case law – to provide comprehensive guidance on joint employment under FLSA and MSPA so that employers can properly analyze a potential joint employment scenario.


Additional Information