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DOL resurrects wage and hour opinion letters

Documents intended to help employers interpret FLSA, other laws

Posted June 28, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will reinstate the issuance of opinion letters, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced on June 27. The action allows the DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to use opinion letters as one of its methods for providing guidance to covered employers and employees.

An opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the WHD of how a particular law such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies in specific circumstances presented by an employer, employee, or other entity requesting the opinion. The letters were a WHD practice for more than 70 years until being stopped and replaced by general guidance in 2010.

The WHD has established a webpage where the public can see existing agency guidance or submit a request for an opinion letter. The WHD says it will exercise discretion in determining which requests for opinion letters will be responded to, and the appropriate form of guidance to be issued.

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