On January 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reissued 17 previously withdrawn opinion letters addressing a wide range of topics under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 15 of the 17 letters were originally signed off on during the final days of the Bush administration, but were withdrawn by the Obama administration “for further consideration by the Wage and Hour Division” on March 2, 2009, and stated that it would “provide a further response in the near future,” but never did. Instead, the Obama administration stopped issuing these letters altogether, instead releasing broader “Administrator’s Interpretations” that laid out how the department viewed employers’ specific obligations under the law. In June 2017, Secretary Acosta announced that he would reinstate the practice of issuing opinion letters.
An opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the Wage and Hour Division of how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by an employer, employee or other entity requesting the opinion. The reissued letters cover a wide range of topics under FLSA of interest to all industries, with one specifically directed towards the commercial construction industry and compliance with section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA.
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