In a blog post from last July, I mentioned that Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta had announced that the Wage and Hour Division would start administering opinion letter again. They have lived up to their word. Initially, they reviewed and reissued opinion letters from 2009, such as one on permissible salary deductions from exempt employees.
On April 12th, the Wage and Hour Division issued three new opinion letters. The first of these was very important guidance for employers who have employees that need to take frequent breaks under an FMLA condition. It basically said that such breaks are for the benefit of the employee and thus don’t need to be compensated, except for those that follow a standard break policy. I wrote about this the other day in Do you have to give compensated breaks under the FMLA?
The second one dealt with the compensability of travel time for nonexempt workers and the third dealt with whether garnishments can be taken out of lump sum bonus payments.
Asking for an opinion
As I said in a previous blog post:
Employers can now seek help from the DOL without having to necessarily get lawyers involved. There is even a website that has been established for this purpose. Request an Opinion Letter is found in the same area employees will find instructions on how to file a claim. That is balance.
You can check out all the opinion letters now in force by visiting the Opinion letter page. Take advantage of it.