Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Joint Employment Under the FLSA and MSPA
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.
- Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2016-1: Joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act
- Joint Employment AI Questions and Answers
- Graphical Illustration of Vertical Joint Employment (pdf)
- Graphical Illustration of Horizontal Joint Employment (pdf)
- Fact Sheet 35: Joint Employment Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA)
- Fact sheet 28N: Joint Employment and Primary and Secondary Employer Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Recent Media
- DOL Blog Post: Are You a Joint Employer? (1/20/16)
- DOL News Brief: US Labor Department obtains joint employment judgment ordering DirecTV to pay $395K in back wages and damages to 147 cable installers in Washington (10/22/15)
- DOL News Brief: J&J Snack Foods pays more than $2.1M in back wages, damages to 677 temporary workers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania (10/27/15)
- DOL News Brief: Phoenix-area restaurants to pay more than $105K in overtime back wages and damages to 19 employees working at three locations (12/2/15)
- DOL New Brief: Wiljo Interiors Inc. in Tulsa pays more than $200K in unpaid wages and benefits to 178 misclassified construction workers (12/15/15)
- DOL Blog Post: Direct TV: What’s Wrong With This Picture? (11/12/15)