Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor DOL will reinstate the issuance of opinion letters. This practice was discontinued under the Obama administration because it was used under the previous Republican administration to weaken overtime protection. Many of the pro-employer opinion letters still cited by employers today were issued in the final months of the Bush administration. The reinstatement of this action means that the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division to use opinion letters to provide guidance to covered employers and employees.
Question: What is a DOL opinion letter?
Answer: An opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the Wage and Hour Division of how a particular FLSA law applies in specific circumstances presented by an employer. Unfortunately, only employers and large pro-business associations and entities have the resources and know how to make requests to the DOL for opinion letters. Many individuals workers and employees do not know this avenue is available. The DOL is selective about which requests it will respond to in a form of an opinion letter. As a result, carefully crafted requests from businesses and business affiliated entities have been more successful in obtaining opinion letters that favors their situations.
The DOL has a website for individuals and business to review previous opinion letters and to submit a request for an opinion letter. https://www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/